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This blog is dedicated to Malta - my island home. My aim is not to bore you with history but to share my thoughts and a few facts together with a photo or two. For a more in -depth background of the island please go here. The purpose of this blog is not to point out the short-comings of the island. There are plenty that do that already. My wish is to show you the beauty of an island at the cross roads of the Mediterranean, a melting pot of history; a place where fact and fiction are sometimes fused to create unique myths and legends; a country that has been conquered so many times that our culture is a mish mesh of the lands that surround us and of lands far away. I confess that my greatest desire is to make you fall in love with this tiny enchanting island.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Of Angels And Saints

 

Mdina Ditch 053

They are not easy to miss – though many of us walk beneath their frozen gazes every single day without so much as a second glance. More than anything else, they are a testament to our past. To a blind, almost irrational, faith. Maybe they make us uncomfortable, those piercing, agonised stares. Time has taken its toll on most of them: faded colours, weather-worn faces, missing limbs … These are the angels and saints that our fore-fathers evoked – for a boon; for protection; for a cure.

St Agatha & Hal-Bajjada (21)

Valletta 124

St Agatha & Hal-Bajjada (40)

In towns and villages and half-forgotten country lanes, they built niches to house them or just set them atop their houses – their arms outstretched in endless benediction. Our ancestors carved them from the soft limestone or simply painted them on walls – maybe because they wanted to bring Heaven just a little bit closer to earth.

Attard (12)

Birgu (30)Bingemma, Gnejna & Dwejra (42)

Salib tal-Gholja, Delimara, Marsaxlokk (55)

They look strangely weary, our angels and saints, as if they have been battling demons for way too long. Or maybe they are just feeling lonely, standing in their dusty alcoves, dejected and forlorn. But sometimes, someone may light a candle or leave a token bunch of flowers at their weary feet. And somewhere, in a faraway Heaven, a tired saint smiles.

Mdina Ditch 080

This is a predominantly Catholic country. Churches and chapels abound, as do images of angels and saints. In 1569, Grand Master Pinto del Monte, issued a law that people who owned a corner site in the new city of Valletta had to embellish it with some ornament. This idea soon spread to the other towns and villages and it is one of the reasons that so many effigies of saints can be found in the old village cores.

Bormla 010

Valletta 152

5 comments:

  1. Beautiful collection of heavenly creatures!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Loree, this was so well-written. I luxuriated in it, honestly. I love the topic and I love the way you handled it and the images. Well, I just need to scroll over the whole thing again. Magnificent.

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