Churches & Religious Sites


Misraħ il-Parroċċa, Mellieħa, Malta

Sanctuary of Our Lady of Mellieħa

The Sanctuary of our Lady of Mellieha is a popular place of pilgrimage. The ancient part of the sanctuary, as it stands today, dates back to the late 16th century.

Since then, due to the popularity of the place and the ever increasing population of Mellieha, the chapel's internal structure was modified and extended several time, the major works being done in 1716-19, 1815, and 1845-47. The building on top of the sanctuary of our Lady of Mellieha is the Parish Priest's residence. The door on the left leads to the sacristy. The cavern was excavated wound by Mario de Vasi, a Sicilian merchant who contributed as well for the decoration of the grotto's vault and the erection of the statue of our Lady of the Grotto. The sacristy contains an impressive collection of ex-voti, gifts and pledges, all of which demonstrate the great devotion the Maltese have towards Our Lady.

The monumental arch was built in 1719, so as to commemorate the favours obtained from our Lady of Mellieha after a long period of draught. The inscription on the arches reads ‘In thee have fathers hoped; they hoped and thou hast delivered them'. The crypt of our Lady of Mellieha was originally one of the many natural caves found around the northern part of the Island. According to an old tradition, the Byzantine style fresco, depicting the Virgin Mary holding Christ on her right arm was painted by St. Luke, when he was shipwrecked on the Island together with St. Paul. Recent studies indicate that the fresco is an early 13th century painting. Mellieha Sanctuary - Fresco In the Chapel's belfry one finds two bells which date back to the 8th century (1712 and 1733). The largest bell was bought from Carlo Moreni of Firenze, Italy in 1857 at the price of 1,063 scudi. The Sanctuary's clock was fabricated by Mikelang Sapiano from Mqabba in 1875. All the expenses were paid by the British Government. From under the roofed veranda, a classical example of 17th Centaury Renaissance architecture, one can enjoy a picturesque view of the Valley of our Lady, Mellieha bay, Gozo and Comino.

The rooms facing the chapel were originally constructed in the 18th century to host pilgrims. Behind the iron grating, there lies an old statue of St. Anne, probably made by a devotee of Our Lady of Mellieha. In the chapel's façade there is also a statue of St. Paul, which was constructed later in the 19th century.

Contact Information

  • Contact: Mellieħa Parish
  • Phone: +356 21245350

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General Information

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