The Grand Priory of the Maltese Islands celebrated the feast of St Paul's Shipwreck with Holy mass at the Sanctuary of Saint Publius at Rabat, Malta.  The mass was celebrated by Senior Chaplain Father Thomas Moore and a good number of members from the Grand Priory and its Gozo Commandary.  The account of Paul’s shipwreck and the three-month winter time stay on Malta can be found in the Bible’s Acts 27:27 through 28:11. Nevertheless it is to be noted that the Bible says the storm was in the Adriatic Sea, though Malta borders the Ionian Sea and this is because in ancient times, the Adriatic’s boundaries were considered to extend much further south.

The Sanctuary of Saint Publius is built upon Saint Paul’s Grotto, ‘the crypt’ where the Apostle of nations, is said to have spent part of his time in confinement in 60 A.D. while on his way to Rome to stand trial before Caesar. In fact the grotto was once a Roman prison and visitors can still see the holes in its roof from where the prisoners' chains once hung.  It is also to be mentioned that over the years this grotto attracted many visitors and distinct people, among them Pope St John Paul II and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. The event also incorporated a brief talk by the Grand Prior Chev. Prof. Charles Savona-Ventura, Grand Historian of the Order, about traditional aspects within the Pauline cult.

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