NEW BOOK: Melita Illyrica and Melita Africana: The Islands of Saint Paul



NOEL MUSCAT ofm – SANDRO TOMAŠEVIĆ ofm, Melita Illyrica and Melita Africana. The Islands of Saint Paul, Foreword by Chev. Prof. Horatio C.R. Vella, published in collaboration with the Commissariat of the Holy Land,  Malta, 2018, pp. 152, ISBN: 978-99957-1-395-9.

The famous story of Paul’s shipwreck on Melíte is the pride of two islands having similar names, namely Mljet in the Adriatic, off the Dalmatian coast of Dubrovnik (Mélita Illyrica), and Malta in the centre of the Mediterranean, some 80 km. to the south of Sicily (Mélita Africana). Which was the island that welcomed Paul and was evangelised by the Apostle of the Gentiles? Which of the two was the island on which Paul was shipwrecked?

Biblical exegesis has always pointed to Malta as the most probable spot of the shipwreck. But the traditions of Mljet as the island of St. Paul have never ceased to be defended by proud Croatians like the Benedictine monk Ignjat Đurđević, who found staunch opposition from the Maltese Catholic tradition upheld by the Knights of the Order of St. John.

This study is the result of the fraternal initiative of two Franciscan friars, one Croatian, the other one Maltese, who together have visited and studied these islands, and whose close collaboration as a writer and photographer has produced these pages. This is no scholarly work of Biblical exegesis or historical erudition. It is simply the work of two Franciscan brothers and friends, who love their respective countries: the lush green forests of the Dalmatian coast of Croatia and the barren sun-drenched rocky cliffs of Malta, set against the deep blue of the Mediterranean Sea and sky.

Noel Muscat was born in Malta in 1957. He joined the Order of Friars Minor in Malta in 1976, and became a priest in 1984.
Sandro Tomašević was born in Croatia in 1984. He joined the Order of Friars Minor in the Province of Sts. Cyril and Methodius in Croatia in 2006, and was ordained priest in 2013.

The book is available from the following address:


Commissariat of the Holy Land

Franciscan Friars

291, Saint Paul Street

Valletta VLT 1213 – Malta


Or by sending an email directly to the authors:


A limited number of copies has been printed. The book will be available in digital form during 2019.

Spirit + Life No. 126: October – December 2018

October – December 2018


The Franciscan cultural review Spirit+Life features papers dedicated especially to the preparations underway for the celebrations of the 800 years of the coming of Saint Francis to the Levant, or Outremer, during the Fifth Crusade that was besieging Damietta in Egypt. It also features the first part of a study regarding Brother Bernardo di Quintavalle, the first follower and disciple of Saint Francis. The Editorial is dedicated to the theme of Saint Francis as a man of peace, and to the true significance of being instruments of peace in the world today, so as not to mix up a God-less pacifism with the authentic Christian message of peace of Francis and his brothers.

Free download here (pdf)

2018 – TAU Franciscan Communications
Permission granted for unlimited use.
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