St Paul's Bay Saint Paul Feast of St Paul's Shipwreck
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How a shipwreck in a storm changed Malta forever

Description

This is a short extract from a documentary produced by Maltese photographer and film maker Alfred Vella Gera in the early 1960s.

It tells how Christianity was brought to Malta in 60 AD.

St Paul was on his way from Jerusalem to Rome when a storm blew his vessel onto Malta’s shores.

The site of the wreck is now known as St Paul’s Island, and was marked by a statue in 1844.

The welcome given to the Paul and the survivors of the shipwreck is described in the Acts of the Apostles XXVIII by St Luke: ‘And later we learned that the island was called Melita.

‘And the people who lived there showed us great kindness and they made a fire and called us all to warm ourselves.’

As the fire was lit, Paul was bitten by a poisonous snake but he suffered no ill effects. The islanders took this as a sign that he was a special man.

The documentary film also explains how a feast is held in honour of the Shipwreck of St Paul on February 10 each year.

Religious ceremonies and street festivities are held in and around St Paul’s Shipwreck Parish in Valletta.

To this day, the feast is an important national holiday in Malta and Gozo.

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