|St Paul consecrating St Publius as Bishop, painting by Emvin Cremona|
Yesterday, the church in Malta celebrated the feast of St Publius. He was the chief of the island of Malta when St Paul was shipwrecked here in 60 AD. He welcomed St Paul, St Luke and the 276 sailors who ended up drifting to shore on planks of wood from the broken vessel on which they had traveled. Publius was very generous and hospitable to all these people, and when St Paul found out that his father was sick with fever and a bout of dysentery, he went to his house and healed him, whereupon many other natives came to be healed of various ailments. Eventually St Paul ordained St Publius as the first Bishop of Malta. Later on in his life he was captured and martyred by the cruel Emperor Hadrian. Most probably he was sent to the amphitheater and devoured by a lion, as his statue always shows him with a lion next to him. The parish church of Floriana is dedicated to him, and the impressive ceiling of the church was painted by Emvin Cremona with various scenes from the life of St Publius.