The Feast of St. Paul

Today Malta is celebrating the Feast of St. Paul which commemorates the shipwreck of the saint at the island’s shores in 60A.D, which led to Malta’s conversion to the Roman Catholic religion from paganism. The locality of St. Paul’s Bay also takes its name from the event. Saint Paul’s Bay is said to be the place where St. Paul and his ship crew crashed when they reached the Maltese lands. This event, recorded in the Bible’s New Testament in the Acts of the Apostles, relates how St. Paul, who was initially travelling to Rome to be trialled for practicing Catholicism, was shipwrecked in Malta following a storm. St. Paul stayed in Malta for three months, during which he managed to convert numerous Maltese to Catholicism and ordered the first Maltese Bishop St. Publius. He then returned to Rome and was executed as a martyr. Even though very short, his stay in Malta had a great impact on the future beliefs of the local islanders. This is evident by the hundreds of churches and chapels highlighting the skyline of Malta and Gozo. For those of you looking for a unique cultural experience, and an opportunity to meet the locals, the celebrations in Valletta are surely not to be missed! St Paul’s Shipwreck Church (St Paul Street, Valletta) celebrations include marching bands, fireworks and a procession which carries the statue of the Saint through the streets.

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