San Pawl Milqi

Roman Villa

San Pawl Milqi is the name of a small chapel south of St. Paul’s Bay. Excavations by the French in the late 1870s and by the Italians in the 1960s revealed that San Pawl Milqi was the site of a Roman villa from the 2nd century AD. The villa’s facilities were used for the production of olive oil. Of the two dozen Roman villas discovered on Malta, this is the largest.

Paul’s Journey to Rome

In Acts 27-28, Luke recounts how Paul’s ship was blown off course near Crete by strong winter storms. After two weeks, the ship approached the island of Malta, and Paul, the soldiers, and sailors all made it safely to shore. They were welcomed by Publius, whom Luke describes as the “chief official of the island.” This title is attested in other inscriptions for an official of Malta.

Paul on Malta

“There was an estate nearby that belonged to Publius, the chief official of the island. He welcomed us to his home and for three days entertained us hospitably. His father was sick in bed, suffering from fever and dysentery. Paul went in to see him and, after prayer, placed his hands on him and healed him. When this had happened, the rest of the sick on the island came and were cured. They honored us in many ways; and when we were ready to sail, they furnished us with the supplies we needed” (Acts 28:7-10, NIV)

Chapel

The chapel of San Pawl Milqi sits on a small flat area on the northeastern slopes of the Wardija Ridge. It overlooks the small village of Bur Marrad and the plain to the northeast. The name San Pawl Milqi is thought to mean “Saint Paul welcomed.” The 17th-century AD chapel commemorates the tradition that this is the spot where Publius greeted Paul (Acts 28:7).

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