Saint Paul’s Grotto

Rabat in Malta was known as a parish from time immemorial. The De Mello Rollo indicates as parishes La Cappella di San Paolo de Fora (Saint Paul’s Grotto) which was the parish church of Rabat and Mdina together. Mdina was founded as Maleth by the Phoeniceans in the 8th century B.C. and later renamed Melitæ by the Romans. At Mdina, there was the Cathedral for the whole of Malta while at Rabat there was the seat of the parish for both Rabat and Mdina combined. The Grotto is one of the most venerated sites on our islands, which is where Saint Paul is said to have stayed when he arrived on our island in AD 60. He was shipwrecked in Malta when he was travelling from Crete to Rome to face trial before Caesar. The Apostle is said to have resided in this cavern during his three months stay. It is from here that he is thought to have preached and spread the word of God and thus gave us our Christian Faith. As a result of this, the cavern became a place of worship and many important personalities came on pilgrimages, including Pope Benedict XVI, Saint Pope John Paul II, Fabio Chigi who later became Pope Alexander VII, and Admiral Lord Nelson. 

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