Collegiate Parish Church of St Paul's Shipwreck
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The wooden statue of St Paul the Apostle was carved in 1657 by Melchiorre Gafà, the brother of Lorenzo Gafà who remodelled the church in 1680. The statue is paraded through the streets of Valletta on the feast day of St Paul's Shipwreck, February 10 generally under heavy rainfall.
The church traces its origins to 1570s. Although the church of the Dominican fathers had already been declared a parish of Valletta, the Cathedral Chapter insisted on having a church of its own from where to administer sacraments to the inhabitants. The church was reconstructed in 1609 but was demolished in 1639. The plans of the new church were prepared by Bartolomeo Garagona. The facade was rebuilt in 1885 to the design of Nicola Zammit.
St Paul is considered to be the spiritual father of the Maltese. His shipwreck is popularly considered as the greatest event in the nation's history. For this reason, St Paul's Collegiate Church is one of the most important in Malta. The church hosts fine artistic works, including the magnificent altarpiece by Matteo Perez d'Aleccio, the choir and dome of Lorenzo Gafà, the paintings by Attilio Palombi, and Giuseppe Calì and the titular statue.
One can also view the treasured relic of the right wrist-bone of St Paul, and part of the column on which the saint was beheaded in Rome.
- Churches in Valletta, brochure, published by Malta Tourism Authority.