St. Paul’s Shipwreck Church commemorates that fateful event that changed the course of Malta’s history. Acts Chapters 27-28 records the story: The Roman prison ship carrying St. Paul got caught in a terrible storm. After washing ashore along with his prison mates and Roman captors, Paul began gathering firewood to help everyone dry out and warm up. But a viper crawled out of the woodpile and bit Paul in the hand, convincing the locals that, “this dude must be a murderer. The gods are clearly intent on executing him for his crime, and since the storm didn’t get the job done, now they’ve sent a snake.” But when Paul survived the bite, and later went on to heal the father of the island’s Roman governor, the locals became convinced that Paul himself was a god. Paul gave credit where it was due, however, and spent the next three months preaching to the Maltese. And that’s how the island became an enclave of Christianity.

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