Photographer's Note

The Church of St. Paul, Rabat

The beautiful St. Paul's Church in Rabat stands above a grotto where St. Paul is said to have taken refuge after his shipwreck on Malta.


Acccording to the Book of Acts, Paul and his missionary party were shipwrecked on Malta for three months.
During his stay, Paul was bitten by a snake and remained unharmed, prompting the natives to regard him as a god. He later healed the father of the governor of the island, Publius, and many other people (Acts 28:1-11).
According to tradition, St Paul eschewed the comfortable surroundings offered to him and chose to live in this subterranean grotto instead. Whether or not this is true, it is possible that he preached from here.

What to See

The Church of St. Paul, built above the grotto, dates from the 17th century. The statue of St Paul was donated by Grand Master Pinto in 1748; the silver galley hanging from the ceiling was given by the Knights of St John in 1960 to mark the 1,900-year anniversary of St Paul's shipwreck. Pope John Paul prayed in the grotto during his visit in May 1990.
The Sanctuary of St Publius was added on to the Church of St. Paul in 1617. The Spaniard Publius came to Malta in about 1600 to become a knight, but upon visiting the grotto he decided to become a hermit instead. Lorenzo Gafa renovated the building in 1692 and his brother Melchiorre executed the marble statue of St Paul..
Note that St. Paul's Grotto is not the same as the similarly-named St. Paul's Catacombs, which are a few miles away.


Like nearby Mdina, Rabat played a major role in Malta’s past and is a prime source of its cultural heritage.
This large provincial township was part of the Roman city of Melita, with the sites and archaeological relics found testifying to the town's importance during the Roman period.
For many centuries, religious orders have established themselves within the precincts of Rabat and Franciscans, Dominicans and Augustinians still flourish here in their spacious convents and monasteries, catering for the religious needs of parishioners in their churches.
The town is a commercial centre and acts as a market to its large agricultural hinterland. It is also well established on the tourist map due to its archaeological and historical sites: The Roman House Domus, Catacombs, St. Paul’s Grotto and the fine churches and monasteries. (Source: visitmalta)

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Additional Photos by George Rumpler (Budapestman) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 8900 W: 3 N: 20435] (82620)
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