Church of the Shipwreck of Saint Paul – Valletta, Malta


On a recent European tour, we spent eight glorious days in the beautiful country of Malta.  It was an amazing journey and we found the Maltese people and culture to be so very wonderful.  In anticipation of a glorious time, we booked an apartment in the oldest part of Valletta, here is the view from our windows……yes,  stunning 180 degree panoramic sea-views of Marsamxett Harbor and Manoel Island, all the way out to the open Mediterranean sea!!!

Perfect for a leisurely dinner with beautiful Maltese wine….

europe2 259

While searching for places to stay, I found this photo and decided I had found the perfect place!!


The Tin Man has many stories to tell about the travels in Malta; however, let’s begin with the Church of the Ship Wreck of Saint Paul…..


It all started with a shipwreck, as told in the book of Acts, about 60 AD while the apostle Paul was en route to Rome.

Boarding an Alexandrian grain freighter on the isle of Crete, a fierce Nor’easter blew the ship off course.

The tiny ship was tossed, it looked like all was lost.

(you should now be hearing the theme from Gilligan’s Island in your head)

The Books of Acts describes the scene as such:

“On the fourteenth night, they were still being driven across the Adriatic sea when the sailors sensed land approaching.   They took soundings and found that the land was 120 feet deep.   A short time later they took soundings again and found that it was 90 feet deep.   Fearing that we would be dashed against the rocks, the sailors dropped four anchors from the stern, and prayed for daylight,”

When daylight came, they did not recognize the land.   But they saw a bay with a sandy beach, where they decided to run the ship aground if they could.   Cutting loose the anchors, they left them in the sea,”

The anchors were discovered by Ray Ciancio in the 1960’s and are on display at the National Maritime Museum


A Shipwreck’s Impact

With the storm still raging, the ship struck a sandbar, and began to break apart. With the vessel and her cargo a total loss, the nearly 300 men on board swam for their lives.   Miraculously, everyone survived.

Once safely on shore, we found out that the island was called Malta,” the story reveals.

And so began a Christian influence in Malta that has continued down through the centuries.   Today, it is the most religious nation in Europe — 98 percent of its citizens are members of the Catholic Church.

Saint Paul is memorialized throughout the island, no where more than in Saint Paul’s bay,   today tourists come to the Church of the Shipwreck of Saint Paul to see relics of the Saint who was cast ashore on this marvelous island nation….


While we had planned to visit this church during our stay in Valletta, on this particular day we were in search of Piadina Caffe, the number 2 rated restaurant in Valletta…


This wonderful Café is owned and operated by a wonderful woman named, Giada….

There are only 3 chairs inside the tiny place and guests are invited to stand or sit on the sidewalk outside

Here is the interior of the entire place…..

europe2 297

Delightful and Fresh Creations


We had such a delightful time and returned every chance we had to this very bohemian culinary paradise.

Click HERE to read my review…….

To our delight, we sat on the sidewalk and there directly in front of us was the entrance to the

Church of the Shipwreck of Saint Paul!!

When we finished our delightful luncheon we stepped across the street to explore the church…..

The church hosts fine artistic works, including the magnificent altarpiece by Matteo Perez d’Aleccio

europe2 308

The Collegiate Parish Church of St Paul’s Shipwreck, also known as simply the Church of St Paul’s Shipwreck, is a Roman Catholic parish church and is one of Valletta’s oldest churches.

 St Paul is considered to be the spiritual father of the Maltese.   His shipwreck is popularly considered as the greatest event in the nation’s history.   For this reason, St Paul’s Collegiate Church is one of the most important in Malta.

The church is incredibly large compared to its humble entrance across from the café.  The inside is packed with all sorts of marvelous art and sculpture.

Here is part of the column on which the saint was beheaded in Rome; you see, he lost his appeal to Caesar and was executed, but his Roman citizenship spared him crucifixion, granting him a more humane beheading instead.

europe2 309

The choir and dome of Lorenzo Gafà, the paintings by Attilio Palombi, and Giuseppe Calì

europe2 372

europe2 376

The wooden statue of Paul the Apostle was carved in 1657 by Melchiorre Cafà, the brother of Lorenzo Gafa  who remodeled the church in 1680


 The statue is paraded through the streets of Valletta on the feast day of St Paul’s Shipwreck, February 10

 One can also view the treasured relic of the right wrist-bone of St Paul……..

europe2 373

europe2 374

What a delightful time we had wandering these ancient streets…… it was time to go back to our marvelous apartment, after a few stops at the local markets to buy ingredients for dinner……….oh yes, and more wine!


europe2 368

 It was a day rich in history and discovery…..just the beginnings of an adventure that would lead us into the bowels of the earth to a Neolithic city over 5,00 years old

we sat and watched the sun set over our beautiful Malta and wondered what tomorrow would bring…..

europe2 262

16 responses »

  1. The first time I read this post I was on a plane earlier today, and I couldn’t see the pictures. Now I’m reading again, and they’re so lovely! You know, this post really brought to life all of the Bible stories I learned when I was little. It’s so cool to actually see remnants of the stories, really brings it to life. And to think you just stumbled upon it!

    • So my darling, you are on your way to Paris! How very exciting! Sorry to hear about the weather and delay in Chicago and good for you for snagging a hotel voucher. So glad you enjoyed the post. Malta is one of the most amazing places on the planet.

      • Yes, I’m on my way, and I feel like you’ve been on this journey with me for quite a while now 🙂 It’s finally happening. Maybe now that we’re going to be living in France, Malta won’t seem so far away. One of my sisters-in-law lived there for many years, but that was before I was part of the family, so I didn’t get to visit. One more to add to the bucket list.

  2. I love this post and all the wonderful pictures. I love the historic information you shared concerning St. Paul but did you really have to mention Gilligan’s Island. Now when the shipwreck of Paul is in our Church Liturgy, I will have to tune out the Gilligan’s Island theme. LOL – Thanks for taking me to Malta today!

    • LOL……………the theme kept playing in my head when I was writing this, could not help myself! You are lucky I did not rewrite the song to adapt it to my post about the church! That would have been worse! Thanks so stopping by and for the lovely comments.

  3. Dear Tin Man! Yes, I’m now also humming the theme from Gilligan’s Island! And I also love the historical tidbits. Your shots are wonderful. The top sunset photo is spectacular. Saint Paul’s wrist! I’ve always been interested in Saints and their relics. Interesting display! I like the hand sculpture. Both the church and Piadina Caffe look warm and cozy. Thanks for another jaunt. The perfect way to start the week! T. (Just sit right back, And you’ll hear a tale, A tale of a fateful trip, That started from this tropic port. . .)

    • LOL…………yes, the song will not stop once it starts! We took so many shots of the sunset from out apartment, it was so spectacular every night. The Paidina Caffe was a most wonderful place, as Giada had such a passion for service and for her culinary creations. She was like a burst of fresh air. The church was quite interesting and packed full of all sorts of mysteries. The hand sculpture was quite dramatic. So glad you enjoyed…….now continue with the song!

  4. A three chair cafe !! I love it!! This wonderment of new places is such a glorious part of Tin Man and Augustine. It is pure delight to flip back and forth – back to the sunset – on to the food – oh the cafe that would be me standing outside – Malta – such a jewel. Virginia XX

    • Yes, you would love Giada, she has such a passion for service and wonderful, fresh food. It is no wonder her café is rated #2 restaurant in Valletta! There are so many wonderful restaurant all filled with linens and glamor, but she brings love to her food and it shows! We do so miss that sunset, though we do have marvelous ones here also. I can see you perched on the sidewalk every morning with a cappuccino!

  5. I’ve spent the last hour catching up with your adventures from Zurich backwards. I do enjoy your posts…you would have made an excellent history professor. 🙂

  6. All new material in these ancient wine vessels! I found Malta exotic because of two people whom I knew who came from there, but I knew NOTHING about it. You present it so interestingly. And I love the photos. (Not to mention the teeny restaurant. Wish we had one like it here.)

  7. Pingback: TODAY’S SAINT: FEAST OF ST. PAUL’S SHIPWRECK | euzicasa

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s