St. Paul’s Shipwreck Church, Valletta, Malta

ceiling st paul shipwreck valletta malta
“Not a hair on your head will be harmed on that island we're forced to land on,” if I remember my Latin. And, I'm pretty sure I do.

We arrived in Malta in our usual fashion–which basically amounts to putting pin in a map and saying, “Let's go there.” Honestly, it's usually not any more sophisticated than that.

And, as often happens, we happen to run into something we hadn't planned on. Like the biggest religious festival of the year wherever we happen to be going. In this case, the celebration of the shipwreck of St. Paul on Malta in about 60 A.D. (You can read about it in the Acts of the Apostles, Chapter 27, if you're so inclined.)

The story is basically this: Paul and his gang were cruising the Mediterranean under Roman arrest when a storm drove them onto the shore of the island of Malta. And, of course, because God was watching over his messenger, nobody got hurt. At least, that's what it says in Acts.

organ st paul shipwreck valetta malta
The organ is often the focal point of the architecture and the art of a church.

At any rate, on Malta, February 10 is a pretty big deal. There's obviously a mass and other carryings on in the Church of St. Paul's Shipwreck, and outside the church after the service, people mill around and brass and drum bands try to move through the tiny street. It's comedic actually, because you really can't move at all because the street is only about 20 feed wide, and there are thousands of people trying to get a good view of the band. And the band can't get through.

St. Paul probably had it easier.

parade st paul shipwreck valletta malta 2
The parade through the tiny streets, crowded with people and bands, was an exercise in trying not to get trampled.

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