Live with Flora the Explorer
the Historical Pilgrimage
St Publius taken to sea to pay Homage to St Paul
Dear Explorers, on Sunday the 9th of July I was invited by the Assoċjazzjoni Publju ta’ Malta to participate at the first edition of the Pilgrimage of St Publius in honour of St Paul’s 1850th martyrdom anniversary.
Maybe you are thinking who was St Publius and
why he is so important with the life of St Paul?
Publius was a Maltese National who according to tradition, was born of noble parents around the year 33 AD. Their urban residence was where today stands the Metropolitan Cathedral of Mdina.
He was the Chief Official (Governor) of the Island who welcomed St Paul and the 276 persons on board the ship which was shipwrecked in Malta.
That’s why there is this great devotion for the Saint!
Flora the Explorer did some research about the Shipwreck of the Apostle Paul and you can find more information in this article.
Furthermore, Paul healed Publius’ father, and afterwards Publius became a Christian and was then ordained as the spiritual leader of the Maltese by St Paul himself. Click here to know more about the San Pawl Milqi episode.
Now we could appreciate why St Publius is taken to visit St Paul in the island dedicated to him as a homage for what the Apostle Paul did for his father and for his life.
You can see the devotee carriyng the statue under that hot sun with such a deep devotion!
Later on, according to tradition, Publius was sent to Athens, becoming its second bishop.
However, Publius was later martyred by being thrown to the lions.
Today, Publius is honoured as a martyr, as the first bishop of Malta and the first Maltese Saint.
His liturgical feast is held on the 22nd of January, while the St Paul’s Feast is a public Feast in Malta and it is held on the 10th of February, see the video click here.
The devotion to St Publius in Malta dates from olden times.
St Publius Church is in Floriana where you can find the titular statue of St Publius carved in wood by the sculptor Vincenzo Dimech as a unique and outstanding work of art.
From the Act of the Apostles 28:1 – 10 you can read the memories of St Luke who was a prisoner as the Apostle Paul during the shipwrecked.
“When we had escaped, then they learned that the island was called Malta. The natives showed an uncommon kindness; for they kindled a fire, and received us all, because of the present rain, and because of the cold….
…Now in the neighbourhood of that place were lands belonging to the chief man of the island, named Publius, who received us, and courteously entertained us for three days. It happened that the father of Publius was sick of fever and dysentery. Paul entered in to him, prayed, and laying his hands on him, healed him. Then when this was done, the rest also who had diseases in the island came, and were cured. They also honored us with many honours, and when we sailed, they put on board the things that we needed”.
The pictures below follow the procession in St Paul’s Bay after the statue of St Publius came back from the boat journey and are a courtesy of the Assoċjazzjoni Publju ta’ Malta.
Watch the video of Flora the Explorer during the Procession 🙂
Thanks for sharing!
Thanks to the Association of Publius and Stephen Camilleri to have invited me in this memorable experience!