The Feast of St Paul’s Shipwreck

st paul

Well, everybody knows that Tuesday (10th February) is a public holiday, but do you know why the date is so remarkable in Malta?
According to tradition, the date celebrates the beginning of Christianity in Malta, which started almost 2000 years ago when Paul the Apostle was shipwrecked on the island. The story says that the Apostle was travelling to Rome by ship with 274 people, where he would be tried as a political rebel. However, two weeks later, after a horrible storm the Paul’s ship was wrecked in the coast of the Maltese island with everyone aboard alive and safe.
“On the fourteenth night, they were still being driven across the Adriatic sea when the sailors sensed land approaching. They took soundings and found that the land was 120 feet deep. A short time later they took soundings again and found that it was 90 feet deep. Fearing that we would be dashed against the rocks, the sailors dropped four anchors from the stern, and prayed for daylight,” (The book of Acts).
After being welcome by locals, Paul was accidentally bitten by a poisonous snake, but nothing happened to him. It was another event that the population believed was a sign that the Apostle was a special man.
The story revels that Paul was also responsible for the cure of Publius’s father from a serious fever, which made Publius (the Roman’s chief man on the island) convert to Christianity and later became the first Bishop of Malta.
Currently, Saint Paul is acknowledged throughout Malta as having an important meaning for the Maltese population. St. Paul’s Island is the area believed where Paul the Apostle’s ship ran aground and hosts a statue celebrating the event as well as the Shipwreck Cathedral.
If you are interested in history and culture.

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