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Monthly Letter from the magazine.

 January 2018

   My Dear Friends

As I write, I am also making preparations to follow in the ‘Steps of St Paul’. This sounds very strange but as many of you know a number of people from St John’s will be on Pilgrimage at the end of this month in Malta. The winter weather I am told is 18°C, so lets hope it stays like that. We will be arriving on the Island on 25th January which is the feast of St. Paul’s conversion.

Christianity has 2000 years of history in Malta. According to tradition, it was brought to the Islands by St Paul in .D. 60.

Paul was being taken to Rome to be tried as a political rebel, but the ship carrying him and some 274 others was in a violent storm to be wrecked two weeks later on the Maltese coast. All aboard swam safely to land.

While we are in Malta we will be celebrating the Feast of the Shipwreck with great splendour. The site of the wreck is traditionally known as St. Paul's Island, and is marked by a statue commemorating the event.

The welcome given to the survivors is described in the Acts of the Apostles 28 by  

St. Luke:

   "And later we learned that the island was called Malta.
And the people who lived there showed us great kindness,
and they made a fire and called us all to warm ourselves... "

As the fire was lit, Paul was bitten by a poisonous snake: he suffered no ill effects. The islanders took this as a sign that he was a special man. This scene is depicted in many religious works of art on the Islands.

According to tradition, the Apostle took refuge in a cave, now known as St. Paul's Grotto in Rabat, Malta.

During his winter stay, he was invited to the house of Publius, the Romans' chief man on the Islands. It was here, according to tradition, that he cured Publius' father of a serious fever. Publius is then said to have converted to Christianity and was made the first Bishop of Malta. The  Metropolitan Cathedral of Saint Paul in Mdina is said to stand on the site of Publius' house.

This pilgrimage takes place during the ‘Year of Prayer’  so we will hold St John’s and its mission in our prayers as we journey in St Paul’s footsteps.

With best wishes and prayers for the coming year.


Follow the pilgrims’ progress!

Their itinerary is here