building on top of the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Mellieha is the
Parish Priest's Residence. The oldest part of the building was presumably
once a small monastery traditionally attributed to the Agostinian
Friars, who for several years took care of this Marian Shrine.
door on the left leads to the sacristy. The cavern was excavated
wound 1610 by Mario de Vasi, a Sicilian wine merchant who contributed
as well for the decoration of the grotto's vault and the erection
of the statue of Our Lady of the Grotto. The sacristy contains an
impressive collection of ex-voti, gifts and pledges, all of which
demonstrate the great devotion the Maltese have towards Our Lady.
Monumental Arch was built in 1719, so as to commemorate the favours
obtained from Our Lady of Mellieha after a long period of draught.
The inscription on the Arch reads: "In thee have fathers hoped.
they have hoped and thou host delivered them".
Crypt of Our Lady of Mellieha was originally one of the many natural
caves found around the northern part of the island. According to
an old tradition, the Byzantine style fresco, depicting the Vergin
Mary holding Christ on her right arm, was painted by St. Luke, when
he was shipwrecked on the island together with St.Paul. Recent studies
indicate that the fresco is an Early Medieval 13th century painting.
ancient part of the Sanctuary, as it stands today, dates back to
the late 16th century. Since then, due to the popularity of the
place and the ever increasing population of Mellieha the chapel's
internal structure was modified and extended several times, the
major works being done in 1716-19, 1815 and 1845-47. In 1844 the
Rector and later Parish Priest of Mellieha Dun Pawl Le Brun, the
Sanctuary regained its status of a parish church and in 1899 the
miraculous painting was coronated by Archbishop Pietru Pace.
the chapel's belfry one finds tow bells, two of which date back
to the 8th century (1712 and 1733). The largest bell was bought
from Carlo Moreni of Firenze, Italy in 1857 at the price of 1,063
Sanctuary's clock was fabricated by Mikelang Sapiano from Imqabba
in 1875. All the expenses were paid by the British Government.
under the roofed verandah, a classic example of 17th Century Renaissance
architecture, one can enjoy a picturesque view of the Valley of
Our Lady, Mellieha Bay, Comino and Gozo. The rooms facing the chapel
were originally contracted in the 18th century to host exhausted
the iron grating, there lies a old statue of St. Anne, probably
made by a devotee of Our Lady of Mellieha. In the chapel's facade
there is as well a statue of St. Paul, which was constructed later
in the 19th century.