Thomas Freller’s Our Lady of Mellieħa sheds new light on the history of the local and international perception of the cult of Our Lady of Mellieħa, one of Malta’s leading shrines and a chief element of Maltese identity.
In early modern times, the shrine at Mellieħa became Malta’s principal place of worship for devotees to turn to in cases of distress and peril at sea. It also drew a considerable number of foreign visitors whose accounts confirm its wide popularity.
The book also discusses the interpretation of the HOly Virgin’s role in the relief of Malta from Ottoman and North African raids and sieges as well as Her divine intervention in the relief of plagues and epidemics.
Another important aspect investigated is the linking of the shrine’s genesis and history with the eipc shipwreck of St. Paul and his companion St. Luke the Evangelist on melita in AD 60. According to these long-standing traditions, it was St Luke himself who authored the venerated fresco in the grotto at Mellieħa.
The subject of this book therefore leads us deep into issues of Maltese identity, as well as international concepts of the COunter-Reformation, Baroque piety, and the island’s collective memory.