An old tradition maintains that Saint Luke painted the figure of Our Lady on the bare rock face of a natural cave in Mellieħa in the year 60 AD. Another tradition of 409 AD strengthens all this and says that a number of Bishops visited this same cave and consecrated it as a church. In 1436, during the Pastoral Visit of Bishop Senatore De Mello, this cave was recorded as already having been established for a long time as one of the ten parishes of Malta. The present icon of Our Lady is of Byzantine-Sicilian origin and was probably painted around the 11th century. Over the years, the devotion towards this Sanctuary, dedicated to the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin, increased considerably and pilgrims from all over the world have come to visit the Holy Shrine to pray for help. Amongst the many prominent pilgrims we find Pope St John Paul II, who in 1990 knelt in prayer in front of the Holy icon.
This Sanctuary is a holy and devout place where man can find peace of mind, body and soul. Today, this Holy Icon of Our Lady is venerated amongst twenty other Marian Shrines in the European Marian Network as well as with other Marian Shrines in the association ‘Mary Mother of Europe’. In May 2015, the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Mellieħa was recognized as the National Shrine of Our Lady in Malta by the Maltese Episcopal Conference.
Opening of the Door of Mercy
From Monday to Sunday: 8:00am till 6:00pm
Summer: from 8:00am till 7:00pm
Sacrament of Reconciliation
Before and after Mass
Mass at the Sanctuary
From Monday to Saturday: 8:30am
Sundays: 10:00am (in English)