Journey to the Island of Knights & Saints
Journey to the Island of Knights & Saints
MALTA, Journey to the Islands of Knights and Saints 2018
An adventure awaits you at the heart of the Mediterranean. From the great prehistoric temples to the Knights of St. John you will experience the history and culture of these remarkable islands of Malta.
With optional Sicily extension pilgrimage.
Special Mass – Our Lady of Victories • Fort St. Elmo • St. Agatha and/or St. Paul’s Catacombs • St. Paul’s Grotto • Mdina Cathedral • St. Ursula’s Monastery – Mass and veneration of the skull of Bl. Gerard, Founder of the Order of Malta • Wine tasting at Malta’s foremost Wine Estate • special viewing of the papal bull Pie Postulatio Voluntatis issued by Pope Paschal II in 1113O creating the Knights of St. John (Order of Malta)• St. John’s Co-Cathedral, the beautiful Conventual church of the Knights of St. John • National War Museum • Verdala Palace • Ħaġar Qim Temples • Grand Master’s Palace • Grand Harbor cruise • Maritime Museum • Full day visit to the Island of Gozo • evening visit to a Maltese Festa • beautiful luncheon under the Med’s oldest carob tree …and more
- Small pilgrimage groups 16 – 26
- Private transfer to hotel on arrival/check-in assistance
- Professional Local Guide
- Luxury coach
- Audio systems for group guided tours of 21+ and part of St. John’s Co-Cathedral tour.
- Daily Mass: including special Masses at Ta Pinu, St. John’s Co-Cathedral, & St. Ursula’s Monastery
- VAT (Value Added Tax)
- 7 nights accommodations at 5-star hotel
- Wine Tasting – Malta’s Premier Wine Estate & Order of Malta Wines
- Continental breakfast daily, 1 Lunches, 5 dinners which includes a special Welcome and Farewell Dinner
- All Lunch and dinners include beverages: water/coffee & wine (at dinner)
- Discount of $50 for each pilgrimage you’ve taken prior to 2018
Depart on your transatlantic overnight flight to Europe connecting to Malta.
Arrive in Malta – Transfer to hotel and enjoy the afternoon exploring Valletta or relaxing pool side in the Mediterranean sun. In the evening we will be treated to a wonderful welcome dinner in a 17th century palazzo. (D)
We will start our day in Rabat with Mass and visit the Grotto of St. Paul where St. Paul is said to have taken refuge after his shipwreck on Malta. We will then visit two early catacombs then move to Mdina; the original capital of Malta. The charm of its narrow, winding streets and the silence of its medieval palaces is the setting for a feast of Baroque splendor. We will visit St. Paul’s Cathedral in Mdina, the original cathedral of Malta that has many great works by artist and knight Mattia Preti. The marble-inlaid floor with tombstones carrying the coats of arms and inscriptions of the bishops of Mdina gives the cathedral one of the most beautiful floors in the world. Leaving Mdina, we will transfer to Malta’s exceptional wine estate for wine tasting & light snacks and our host will be the founder. We will enjoy the breathtaking view of the vineyard from the upper terrace and there will be an explanation of the history of the estate followed by a tour and wine tasting. (B,D)
Our day will start with a special Mass in Valletta where we will have the opportunity to venerate a relic Blessed Gerard, founder of the Order of Malta. We will then have a rare opportunity at the National Library (former archives of the Order) to view the original Papal Bull: Pie Postulatio Voluntatis, promulgated by Pope Paschal II on February 15, 1113 which approved the Order of St. John of Jerusalem. Leaving the National Library we will tour the 16th Century Palace of a Maltese Noble family. It was built in the late 16th Century for Don Pietro La Rocca, a Knight of Malta and an Admiral. We then visit…St. John’s Co-Cathedral, the Conventual Church of the Knights and conceals a number of invaluable treasures behind its somber façade. The ornate marble tombstones, which form the floor of the Cathedral, the sumptuous vault painted by Mattia Preti and the rich baroque statues will help you imagine the splendor which characterized the Order’s ceremonies. Housed inside the Cathedral Museum are two masterpieces by Caravaggio: The Beheading of St. John the Baptist and Saint Jerome. There will be special commentary on Caravaggio and his painting of The Beheading of Saint John. Our last stop is the beautiful view from Barrakka Gardens of the Grand Harbor (B,D)
Gozo: Island of Calypso – We will pass by St Paul’s Bay and the magnificent view of St Paul’s Islands – where St Paul was shipwrecked. After a short trip, Gozo Channel Ferry will bring us to the island of Gozo where we will proceed to Ta’ Pinu Basilica for Mass. In its simplicity it is one of the most beautiful churches of the Maltese Islands and is known for miracles that occurred there. St. John Paul II made a pilgrimage to Our Lady’s Shrine during his visit to the Maltese islands. We head into the countryside to visit a watch tower that was built during the reign of Grandmaster Antoine de Paule in 1651, with its main objective being to guard against attacks from the sea. Lunch – A nice relaxing lunch under one of the Mediterranean’s oldest carob trees. We will then visit Victoria, Gozo’s Capital. The Citadel in Victoria is one of the purest masterpieces on the islands. We shall also see the lace making craft in Gozo. Gozitan lace is known all over the world for its quality and beauty. On our return to Malta, we will visit the oldest shrine in Malta to Our Lady. According to tradition, the apostles Paul and Luke had visited this sanctuary. Many ex-votos attest to the miracles through Our Blessed Mother’s intercession. In 1614 the Turks came up Mellieha Bay and attacked the Sanctuary to destroy the icon. The Knights retook the shrine, but the lower part of the icon was destroyed. (B,L)
Mass at St. John’s Co-Cathedral with the members of the Maltese Association Order of Malta SMOM (for Members of the Order of Malta SMOM on the tour, you have the option to robe for mass) to honor the memory of deceased Knights from the Great Siege of Malta 1565. H.E. Charles J. Scicluna will be officiating at the Mass. There will be placement of wreaths in the courtyard tomb of the deceased Knights from the Great Siege and blessings of tombs in St. John’s including the area above the Grand Master’s Crypt. We leave Valletta to visit (by special invitation) the summer residence built by Grand Master Hugues Loubenx de Verdalle in 1586; on the site of a hunting lodge previously owned by Grand Master Jean Parisot de la Valette. During WWII the palace also hosted Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower during the invasion of Sicily. The palace now serves as the official summer residence of the President of Malta. Next, we proceed to the temple of Haġar Qim, which stands on a hilltop overlooking the sea and the islet of Filfla. At the bottom of the hill, lies another remarkable temple site, Mnajdra. First excavated in 1839, the temple area has produced many ‘fat figure’ statuettes including the naturalistic ‘Venus of Malta’. Haġar Qim is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. (B,D)
We’ll start our day with Mass at at a church built by Martin Sarria Navarra a knight of St John in 1585. After mass we head to Valletta and start with a visit to Ft. St. Elmo. The defense of Fort St. Elmo during the great Siege of 1565 is legendary. There will be a walking tour focusing on the Great Siege. We then move to the newly renovated National War Museum which is now located inside Fort St. Elmo and represents the important role Malta and its people played during World War II as well as Malta’s important military role after 1800 under British rule. A few blocks from the fort is the Sacra Infermeria which was built as a hospital by Grand Master Jean de la Cassiere in 1574 and was the largest hospital of its time, a symbol of the Order’s commitment to caring for the ill. Grand Master’s Palace: The stern exterior of the 16th-century Grand Master’s Palace conceals a sumptuous interior. This was once the residence of the Grand Masters of the Knights of St John. Since Malta’s independence in 1964 the building served as the seat of Malta’s parliament, but this is set to change in 2016. Grand Harbor Cruise: We join our guide for a harbor cruise and will visit the ports of Marsamxett and the Grand Harbor whose natural creeks make this port one of the most beautiful in Europe. Our guide will give a detailed commentary on the history of Valletta and the Three Cities connected with two Great Sieges of 1565 and 1942, as well as the historical forts and battlements which can only be admired from the sea. Evening: Optional Excursion FESTA! – we transfer to a village feast for Our Lady of Victories. The festa season occurs in the first two weeks of September and reaches its climax on September 8th. (B)
We will depart for Birgu (Vittoriosa), the first home and headquarters of the Knights of St. John. We will walk the streets of the Auberges where the Knights lived and visit St. Lawrence Church which was the Conventual church of the Knights soon after their arrival in Malta. We will then visit the Oratory of St. Joseph which houses the hat and sword of Grand Master La Vallette. We move to Ft. St. Angelo which was rebuilt by the Order of Saint John as a bastioned fort between the 1530s and the 1690s, and it is best known for its role as the Order’s headquarters during the Great Siege of Malta of 1565.
After a harbor side lunch we move to the Maritime Museum which covers the remarkable seafaring heritage of Malta with a special section devoted to the navy of the Knights. Farewell dinner: Beautiful palazzo dating to the early 1700’s. (B,D)
Breakfast – Depart Malta International Airport or extension tour to Sicily (B)
7 nights accommodations at 5-star hotel
Airport: Private transfer to hotel on arrival
Luxury, a/c coach
Wine Tasting – Meridiana Wine Estate & Order of Malta Wines
Continental breakfast daily, 1 Lunch, 5 dinners including a special Welcome and Farewell Dinner
All Lunch and dinners include beverages: water/coffee & wine at dinner
Euros to be collected at check-in – €75 per person
Discount of $50 for each pilgrimage you’ve taken with us
Malta, Journey to the Island of Knights & Saints
"Dick and I had a wonderful trip to the Island of Malta. We saw sights and entered places where few people are able to go. Being with a native Maltese lady opened many doors for us. On another tour…Saints, Knights & Wine, this time to Italy, we saw the beautiful wineries owned by the Order of Malta. Rocca Bernardo was breathtaking."Dick and Theresa Martter Dallas, Texas
"The trip to Malta with you was the BEST! We enjoyed it and learned so much. We will never forget it!"Simi Forsyth, Reisterstown
"I can’t speak highly enough of MedSeas and their annual pilgrimages to the beautiful and Faith-filled nation of Malta. Compared to other European nations, Malta doesn’t get a lot of attention, but Catholics seeking a place where the Faith is taken seriously need to check out this beautiful, historical island nation in the Southern Mediterranean, and MedSeas is the perfect place to start."Andrew Dunn, Philadelphia
Continuing to Sicily
How about continuing with us to Sicily?
Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Normans, Bourbons and many more contributed to the tapestry of Sicilian history that draws so many to explore this ancient island. Join us on an unforgettable journey of faith, culture and history through the beautiful Island of Sicily.