Saint Publius of Malta

Saint Publius is the first officially known Maltese Saint. He is venerated as the first Bishop of Malta. He was the prince of the island at the time when Saint Paul came to Malta.  Publius received the Apostle Paul during his shipwreck on the island as recounted in the Acts of the Apostles. According to the Acts of the Apostles, St. Paul cured Publius’ sick father. Publius was converted to christianity and this led to Malta being the first Christian nation in the West, and one of the first in the world.

“In the vicinity of that place were lands belonging to a man named Publius, the chief of the island. He welcomed us and received us cordially as his guests for three days. It so happened that the father of Publius was sick with a fever and dysentery. Paul visited him and, after praying, laid his hands on him and healed him. After this had taken place, the rest of the sick on the island came to Paul and were cured. They paid us great honor and when we eventually set sail they brought us the provisions we needed.”

In fact apart from being the particular patron saint of the town of Floriana, Saint Publius is also one of the patron saints of Malta. He was martyred c. 125, during the persecution of Emperor Hadrian. St. Publius was canonised in the year 1634. His feast is celebrated on January 22nd.

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