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.

Saint Bonaventure and his vision of saint Francis and the theology of history in the teachings of Pope Benedict XVI

0 (1)Joseph Ratzinger published his volume, Die Geschichtstheologie des heiligen Bonaventura, in Munich in 1959. Since that year this monumental volume has been translated and republished in various languages, particularly during the years in which Cardinal Ratzinger became Pope Benedict XVI (2005-2013). In this volume Ratzinger makes a detailed analysis of the concept of theology of history as outlined in the context of the 13th century schools of theology, particularly in the University of Paris during the time in which Saint Bonaventure of Bagnoregio was lecturing, and especially during the final years as minister general of the Franciscan Order, when he delivered some famous Parisian lectures or conferences, especially the Collationes in Hexaëmeron, between 9 and 28 May 1273.

St Bonaventure and his vision of St. Francis and Theology of history in the teachings of pope Benedict XVI


“Ad servitium et communem utilitatem fratrum” The concept of goverment of the fraternity according to the mind of saint Francis


Saint Francis of Assisi envisaged a new form of government in the Order of friars Minor. In a time when the prevailing model was the monastic and Benedictine model of the abbot or prior as father and head of the community of monks, Francis introduced the figure of the minister and servant of the fraternity, calling him by various names, such as minister, custos and guardianus.

Ad servitium et communem utilitatem fratrum

Francis new Adam



The object of this paper is that of seeing, first and foremost, the figure of the first man, Adam, and that of the new Adam, Christ, applied to Saint Francis, and then to understand how Francis lived the paschal mystery of Christ in the perspective of the new Adam, particularly in the revelation of Christ who offers himself to his disciples during the paschal meal.

IL GIOVEDÌ SANTO DI SAN FRANCESCO NELLA PROSPETTIVA DEL NUOVO ADAMO L’oggetto di questo studio è quello di vedere prima le figure del primo uomo Adamo, e di Cristo, nuovo Adamo, applicate a san Francesco, e poi a capire come Francesco ha vissuto il mistero pasquale di Cristo nella prospettiva del nuovo Adamo, che si rivela in Cristo che si dona ai suoi nella cena pasquale.

Francesco nuovo Adamo

Francis new Adam




The meeting of Saint Francis and Saint Dominic in the franciscan sources


One of the popular themes in the iconography of St, Francis and St. Dominic is that of presenting them in a friendly and fraternal embrace. For many centuries both Orders held a strong tradition that the two saints met on more than one occasion. This tradition was also the reason why the two Orders nurtured fraternal contacts between themselves, and celebrated together the feasts of their founders. The feeling of fraternity between the Minors and the Preachers was motivated by these traditions. Our aim is that of showing how the mediaeval Sources for the life of St. Francis describe these meetings between the two founders.

Meeting of st. Francis and st. Dominic

St. Clare and Palm Sunday



On Palm Sunday night in many monasteries of the Order of St. Clare the nuns celebrate an important event in the life of their spiritual mother. On the night of 28 March 1211, which was the night concluding the feast of Palm Sunday, Clare left her paternal house in the piazza of the cathedral church of San Rufino in Assisi and proceeded towards the Portiuncula chapel to begin a new way of life under the direction of Francis and the first brothers.
(28 marzo 1211)
La notte che segue Domenica della Palme viene celebrata nei monasteri delle Clarisse con un ricordo di un evento importante nella vita della loro madre spirituale. Era la notte del 28 marzo 1211, la notte che seguì la Domenica delle Palme, quando Chiara lasciò la sua casa paterna nella piazza della chiesa cattedrale di San Rufino in Assisi, e corse verso la cappellina della Porziuncola, per dar inizio ad un nuovo stile di vita sotto la direzione di Francesco e dei primi frati minori.

Il-Passjoni ta’ Kristu fl-Ispiritwalità Franġiskana


Noel Muscat ofm

Il-moviment Franġiskan, mibdi minn San Franġisk t’Assisi (1182-1226), ta kontribut kbir lill-Knisja mis-seklu 13 ‘il quddiem. Imwieled flimkien mal-moviment l-ieħor ta’ San Duminku Guzman (1170-1221), fundatur ta’ l-Ordni tal-Predikaturi, l-Ordni tal-Minuri kien strumentali fit-tixrid tal-messaġġ evanġeliku fil-Knisja bil-għatx għar-riforma taż-żmien tal-Konċilju Lateran IV (1215).

Il-Passjoni ta’ Kristu fl-Ispiritwalità Franġiskana (pdf)

Spiritwalità ta’ Madre Margherita


Noel Muscat OFM

Il-kariżma tal-ħajja ikkonsagrata għandha ħafna forom ta’ espressjoni. Hi tadatta ruħha għall-ispiritwalità Kristjana fid-diversi kurrenti storiċi u soċjoloġiċi li fihom tiġi inkarnata. Madre Margherita twieldet f’mument storiku preċiż, li kien is-seklu 19, ikkaratterizzat minn spiritwalità qawwija ta’ kult lejn il-Qalb ta’ Ġesù.

Spiritwalità ta’ Madre Margherita (pdf)