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The first cathedral ever built on this place is said to have been dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. This is not surprising. The Blessed Virgin has always found an important place within the Maltese Christian traditions that some claim can be traced to Paul’s shipwreck itself, considering Paul was accompanied by Luke, and that Luke’s has been deemed the most Marian of all four Gospels (the core of some much later developed Marian doctrines can be found in it, through some bona-fide exegetical effort). Maltese traditions even held that the famous Hodegetria icon, preserved at the Mellieha National Marian Shrine, had been painted by Luke himself directly on the rock in the year 60, when he reached the island.

© Courtesy of the Mdina Metropolitan Cathedral | Photo by Joe P. Borg