|1942 A.D. - Maltese Catholic Christians Are Blessed With Protection|
|Written by Dan Curry|
|Friday, 24 April 2009|
1942 A.D.: Maltese Catholics Enjoy A Blessed Afternoon At Church
Malta is a beautiful island in the Mediterranean Sea, with an ancient history. Of course most places in the Mediterranean have a fairly ancient history. But Malta has ruins which MAY pre-date the great flood. Antediluvian! Maybe. And it has since been controlled or settled by people from Sicily, then Greeks and Phoenicians in around the 700 B.C. - 800 B.C. time frame, and then the Romans as well. It's been around the block!
Today, Malta is a largely Christian island, with a predominantly Catholic population. Jesus's name has been praised there since the early Christian days. After all, Paul the Apostle and his fellow travellers shipwrecked off the coast of Malta in the 60 A.D. time frame. And luckily for the castaways, the Maltan's (Maltese?) were very hospitable to the wet shivering survivors of the wreck, all 276 of whom miraculously survived the stormy swim to shore exactly as God had prophesied to them through Paul. Paul was actually a prisoner on the ship at the time, under gaurd of Roman Soldiers. The ship was a wooden freighter ship that had been hauling grain until the storm became so severe that they tossed the grain overboard so that they wouldn't sink.
Once ashore, Paul was gatheiring up dead sticks and branches for firewood in the sight of some of their Maltese hosts when a snake struck out and bit him in their sight. They supposed that he must be a particularly evil man, because, though the crew had been saved from the sea, a snake (one they knew to be venemous) had bit this man Paul. But he only threw it off into the fire and kept working. Soon, they realized that he had suffered no affects from the venom, and they were in awe. They were willing to listen to Paul because of this when he spoke of Jesus. And Paul did healings on the island, further reinforcing knowledge of Jesus's power in their minds.
It's uncertain which type of snake it was that bit Paul, because today Malta is so densely populated (1250+ persons per square mile) that the wildlife has not all survived. But even in the 1900's there were known to be vipers there, and that is a highly venemous species, their bites frequently being fatal.
The castaways ended up staying on Malta for weeks. While there, Paul impressed the natives even further. He asked Jesus to heal the father of Publius, the chief official of Malta. And the man was indeed healed when Paul layed his hands upon him. So, hearing of this, many others came and were healed that winter.
The stop at Malta was very key; Paul won the good will of his Roman captors there and consequently was given much freedom in Rome as he awaited his trial. For two years he used this freedom, unhindered, to preach to all who would listen about who Jesus was from his little residence in Rome.
And for the people of Malta who were so hospitable to Paul it was the time in which they came to know Jesus. They have never forgotten Him in these intervening almost 2000 years. These events are all described in the Book of Acts Chapters 27 and 28.
So was God remembering the kindnesses of these Maltese on April 9th, 1942 as 300 of them sat waiting for a church service to start in the Mosta Dome? Also called 'the Rotunda of St Marija Assunta', it is a beautiful church with the 3rd largest unsupported stone dome in the world, behind only the Pantheon, and St. Peter's in Rome. It's dome is 37 feet in diameter. When it was designed by George Gronet de Vasse in the 1860's, using the local residents labor and skill, George had insisted on trying the strength of a sample of building stone from every quarry on the island. He wanted the strongest of stone! That's a bit unusual, but may have proved fortuitous.
As the 300 Maltese parishoners sat waiting for the service to start on this Sunday, Axis bomber planes flew over, (it was the middle of World War II) dropping bombs. Three of these bombs struck the church. Two of them just bounced off, not harming anyone. But the 3rd bomb, a 200 Kg Luftwaffe bomb, penetrated the hard dome and fell into the church where the shocked parishoners sat. And they watched as it landed and bounced and went sliding through the church, eventually coming to a stop. We can safely assume there was a little 'holding of the breath' for a moment, I think. But it was unnecessary. This bomb did not explode, but only sat there where it came to rest. And as they gathered themselves and began to talk, it was realized that not only was no one hurt, but the dome was not too extensively damaged either.
Above are pictures of the repaired dome and a look at the church, with the replica bomb on display. (I suppose they didn't feel an urge to keep an unexploded bomb in their church. Why press your luck?)
For that group at least, there was no doubt: the Lord had protected them. And you can still go to that church today, on the island of Malta, at the Mosta Dome church, and see the bomb (actually a replica I have read) on display. There are also pictures on the internet which show things pretty clearly. So, was it a lucky coincidence? Or does the Lord choose certain times, places, and events to show the world of His continued care for those who call on his name? Blessed is our mighty Father. Praise to Him and our King, His Son Jesus!
|Last Updated ( Sunday, 28 April 2013 )|
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