Annual Votive Lamp Pilgrimage to St Paul’s Grotto



The annual Votive Lamp Pilgrimage started at 5.15 p.m. with a cortege from the newly restored church of St Cathaldus to St Paul’s Church, where the President of the Maltese Association, HE Marchesino Daniel de Petri Testaferrata read, and Rev. Mgr John Azzopardi gave an explanation of, the Motu Proprio decree issued by Grand Master Fra Matthew Festing on the 21 October 2015. St Paul’s Grotto and the Wignacourt Museum were declared as forming part of the spiritual and cultural heritage of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, thus placing them under the patronage of the Prince and Grand Master.

After Mass, the votive lamp was carried in procession to St Paul’s Grotto where it was hung in front of the statue of St Paul.

A brief tour around the Wignacourt Museum followed the religious functions and light refreshments were served in the gardens of the museum at the end of the event.


The Votive Lamp Pilgrimage started in 1960 when Grand Master Frà Angelo de Mojana accompanied by the Sovereign Council and the Maltese Association presented to St Paul’s Grotto, in the presence of the Cardinal Legate, a silver votive lamp in the form of a galley of the Order, recalling the efforts of the Order in the early 17th century to acquire under its jurisdiction this Grotto which was the cradle of Christianity in Malta. Throughout their stay on the island the Knights embellished the place and promoted it, both locally and internationally, as an apostolic sanctuary and a place of pilgrimage under their jurisdiction. When the Knights left Malta, efforts were made to retain for the use of the officiating clergy the sacred vestments and privileges of the Order. The annexed building, the Wignacourt Museum, which was the residence of the officiating chaplains, incorporates many works of art and treasures of the Order.