St. Paul's Church and Grotto

Rabat, Malta

The Collegiate Church of St Paul is built on part of the site of the Roman city Melite, which included all of Mdina and a large part of present-day Rabat. There were numerous churches built on the site of the present church which dates from the 17th century. In 1336 bishop Hilarius refers to the church as ecclesia Sancti Pauli de crypta, and also mentions the cemetery and the Roman ditch. The present church was built to replace a church which was completed in 1578. The new church was built with funds provided by the noble woman Guzmana Navarra on plans prepared by Francesco Buonamici. The church building commenced in 1653 was completed by Lorenzo Gafà in 1683. Annexed with the church of St Paul is a smaller church dedicated to St Publius which was rebuilt in 1692 and again in 1726 by Salvu Borg.

According 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.

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.

Entrance to the grotto (cave) is through the church of St Publius. The grotto is the place where according to tradition St Paul lived and perched during his three months stay in Malta in 60 A.D. In 1748 Grand Master Pinto donated a statue of St Paul for the grotto. The grotto was visited by two Popes, Pope John Paul II in 1990 and Pope Benedict XVI in 2010.

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Address

Triq il-Kullegg, Rabat, Malta
See all sites in Rabat

Details

Founded: 1726
Category: Religious sites in Malta

More Information

en.wikipedia.org

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Silviu Serban (8 months ago)
New Mdina has also beautiful places to see.
Ivan Petrovic (9 months ago)
Restoration in progress, You can only see it from this angle, it is definitely nice to drink a cappuccino across the street.
Sanka Illangakoon (9 months ago)
Another beautiful basilica in the Mdina new town. Visited this while the sunday mass was taking place so we were respectful in observing the architecture without disturbing the prayers. Must do but do avoid sunday mass.
Sandro Agius (11 months ago)
A very welcoming place for all
Beth K (15 months ago)
Facinating building with a lot more to see than you would expect from the outside, well worth the €5 entry fee. The museum details the journey that St. Paul made to and through Malta and the grotto is where he stayed during his time on the island. There is also an extensive network of underground catacombs to explore, as well as large underground WWII shelters. Above ground, the museum is quite extensive and contains a multitude of artwork as well as other artefacts.
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