Malta (South Eastern Region) – Valletta – St. Paul’s Shipwreck Church

The entrance to this church is quite small, hiding just how large the interior is behind it. Work, which took nearly forty years, started on the building in 1639 and it replaced a previous Jesuit church.

This is the first room that I saw when entering and it seems to be the sacristy or vestry, it’s a layout that I haven’t seen before though.

The photos rather stop here at the nave as I saw that there was a sign saying no photos, and I thought that I’d better obey the rules. Others were disregarding them, but I don’t want to run the risk of being complained at and seeming disrespectful. It’s a slight shame though, as there were some beautiful areas of the church that I’m now struggling to picture and remember. The Chapel of Our Lady of Charity was intriguing, it was given to the church when the Guild of Goldsmiths and Silversmiths closed.

There were also some impressive relics, including the right wrist-bone of St. Paul, which is one of the treasures of the church. There’s also half of the pillar on which St. Paul was beheaded in Rome, with the other half in the Tre Fontane church in Rome. The half that this church has was sent by Pope Pius VII in 1818 to thank it for the services rendered in the 1813 plague. St. Paul is very important to Malta, as it is said that he brought Christianity to the islands when his boat was shipwrecked off the coast.

There were some steps down to the crypt, rather elegantly carved.

There is a opening from the road down to the crypt, making it seem rather like a pub cellar with a convenient opening for the dray. I’m not sure why the church needs one, unless it was just to bring supplies up without traipising everything through the sacristy/vestry.

The cellar, with the door from the previous photo visible at the rear left.

And the crypt from the other side, with a dedication to Dun Karm Decelis, who lived from 1805 until 1865.