Chapel of the Shipwreck of St. Paul – votive graffiti

This interesting chapel found in the Qlejgħa Valley, is dedicated to the Shipwreck of St Paul and was re-built in 1690 in a light baroque architectural style. Though it was a privately-owned chapel, for many years, it was used to give a service to the residents of the neighbouring area through the celebrating of holy mass.

An important and highly interesting characteristic is a collection of graffiti of ships and other features, which cover part of the outside walls of this church.

These consist of ex-voto etchings that were put there by the faithful in past centuries and are still preserved enough to be seen, studied and enjoyed.

The majority of the graffiti represent seacraft, indicating the connection with the shipwreck of St Paul on Malta in 60 C.E. Sailors, passengers or others who left these graffiti felt that they should make these promises, show their gratitude or express their prayers to St Paul, a saint who knew quite well what the force of the sea was like.

Other graffiti include the eight-pointed cross reminiscent of the Order of St John, the palm of the hand, a game, and one solitary graffito of a sheaf of corn.

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