Malta (Northern Region) – Mellieha – Our Lady of the Grotto

Near to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Mellieħa is this stone gate, which is the entrance to a church located in an ancient grotto.

The steps down, and I wondered what I was walking down into…..

These are the final set of steps which go into the chapel. It is said that the Virgin is able to heal children, so some people leave children’s clothes and letters in the hope that they can be cured of their illness.

Light comes in from this large skylight, although the lighting in the grotto is still mostly from candles. Although it’s a natural cave, it has been turned into this church by cutting into the limestone.

Sitting in a pool of naturally flowing water, the statue of the Madonna holding the baby Jesus. There were reports in 1887, 1888 and 1948 that the statue was seen moving her right hand in the shape of a cross, and the site has long been a destination for pilgrims.

Graffiti marked into the stone near to the entrance, dating back to 1834 (unless someone more recently just etched in an incorrect date).

There are numerous, mostly damaged, statues in the niches around the church.