St. John the Baptist Co-Cathedral

The Conventual Church of the Order of the Knights Hospitallers is an architectural and artistic gem. Simple and sombre on the outside to reflect the Knights’ vows of poverty, it is then, so rich on the inside. A French visitor was so awed and struck by its ravishing beauty that he described it as "a marble paradise wrapped in flames of gold." It houses one of the grandest Renaissance masterpieces, Caravaggio’s Beheading of St. John the Baptist. Venerated there is the Holy Icon of the Theotokos, known as the Madonna of Caraffa. It hangs in the Chapel of the Holy Sacrament, whose portico is made of solid silver. The Church is visited by thousands and thousands of tourists each year.

St. John the Baptist Co-Cathedral

Magnificent panoramic view of the front of the Co-Cathedral. Behind the altar is a huge statute of the Baptism of Jesus.

Medina Metropolitan Cathedral

The Medina Cathedral was the first parish church erected in Malta and it is the See of the Metropolitan Archbishop of the Island. It is dedicated to Saints Peter and Paul. Their Feast on June 29 is a national event. People flock to Rabat and Medina to make revelry, feast on traditional rabbit stew, drink wine and enjoy the races. The Feast is called Imnarja, which in Maltese means the Feast of Light. The Cathedral is beautiful in its Baroque simplicity and rich interiors. Across the Square there are a very ancient Museum and the Archbishop’s Palace.  A visit there is a must for all tourists who visit Malta.

St. Catherine’s Church (Valletta)

The Church is one of the oldest in Valletta and it was built in 1576, just 10 years after the laying of Valletta's founding stone. In its original form, it was rather more like a large chapel. It is adjacent to the Auberge d'Italie. Before the erection of the Conventual Church of Saint John the Baptist, it served as the Conventual Church of the Knights Hospitallers. The design of St Catherine's was drawn up by the famous Maltese architect Girolamo Cassar, who designed most of Valletta's imposing churches, palaces, auberges, and fortresses. During the 17th century, the present larger octagonal-shaped church was built on the site of the old church, which was turned into an inner sanctuary. St Catherine's houses various precious works of art, including a few executed by the famous Italian master Mattia Preti. The altarpiece is considered one of his most renowned works.  From 2001 to 2011 restoration works were carried out and the church was returned to its pristine glory. Tourists visiting Valletta always visit this gem of a church.

Good Friday Processions

Like the much larger neighbouring Island of Sicily, Malta formed part of the Kingdom of Aragon for more than 400 years. Several Spanish traditions form part of Spanish religious devotions. Good Friday processions take place in several towns and villages of the Islands. Statues depicting the various stations of the Passion of Our Lord are accompanied by hundreds of characters made up of Judean High Priests, Roman soldiers, some even on horseback, followers of Jesus, prophets and other biblical personalities, of the Old as well as the New Testaments. Thousands of tourists invade the towns and villages to enjoy the spectacle.

The Collegiate Church of the Immaculate Conception (Cospicua)

The present sanctuary is built on the site of the small original parish church. Bormla (Bur Mula -- the Valley of the Lord) was a small fishing village and it increased in size and population after the Great Siege (1565). In 1684, the church became too small for the expanding city and a new church was built around the old one. The Collegiate Church was completed and consecrated to the Immaculate Conception in 1730, and is dedicated to the Immaculate Conception. The titular statue is carved out of an oak tree and covered by thick sheets of silver plate. It is studded with gold trimmings, diamonds and other precious stones. The church, apart from being a shrine of Marian devotion, houses numerous artistic wooden statues. The six statues that adorn the main altar are made of solid silver. All the altars’ centerpieces are carved in silver plate, too, and there is a 5-foot tall exposition tabernacle that was donated to the church by Grandmaster Nicola Cotoner.

Our Lady of the Grotto, Mellieha

Across the street from the Church of Our Lady of Victory, the National Marian Shrine, one finds a grotto dedicated to the Madonna, carved deep into the rock. Of great interest are events that happened in 1887, 1888 and 1948. On different dates, groups of people who were praying before the white statue of Our Lady with the Child saw her repeatedly moving her right hand to make the sign of the cross. In the Sanctuary archives there are 13 documents from different sources that record these happenings. Hung on the walls are votive offerings for miracles granted.