Thursday, 10 November 2011

Wayside Chapels – St Martin at Bahrija

Bahrija (1)

This small chapel in the tiny (but rapidly expanding) village of Bahrija is dedicated to St Martin, Bishop of Tours. No one knows exactly when this chapel was built, however it is likely that it was constructed some time during the 15th century. According to the pastoral records of Bishop Molina the chapel was rebuilt in 1684. This very simple chapel is rectangular in shape with one small round window providing light for the interior. The belfry was built in 1946.

Bahrija (2)Bahrija (3)Bahrija (4)

According to Christian tradition, Martin converted to Christianity against his parents wishes. While serving as a Roman soldier in Gaul he came across a scantily dressed beggar at the gates of Amiens. It is said that Martin cut his military cloak in half and shared it with the beggar who later revealed himself to be Jesus. The feast  of St Martin is celebrated on November 11.

Here in Malta it is customary for children to be given a cloth bag filled with nuts, autumn fruits such as apples and oranges, dried figs and a type of sweet bread topped with an anise-tasting sweet  (il-hobza ta San Martin or the bread of St Martin) for this feast.

This weekend the village of Bahrija will celebrate the  feast of Saint Martin with an agricultural fair which will include a show for farm animals. I have yet to make it Bahrija for this feast mainly because the village is inundated by visitors who upset the usual peace and tranquility of this picturesque spot.

Bahrija (6)

View from a small clearing next to the chapel of St Martin

St Martin’s Chapel

Bahrija

Photographed August 2011

5 comments:

  1. I love its simplicity, it is just perfect!

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  2. These remind me of the chapels in New Mexico!

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  3. Hi Loree
    Great background story attached to this church.. I agree with the above reader, it has a 'spanish/mexican' feel to it.. lovely!

    Have a great week.. ciao xxx Julie

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  4. I love this little chapel. It looks so peaceful. And the story of St. Martin is really interesting - especially since his feast is celebrated on my birthday ;)

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  5. What a lovely chapel and great view! Thanks for the history ... always so fascinating ... enjoyed the catacomb post too!

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