Chapel Of San Blas

It is a sad indication of the urbanisation of Maltese countryside that many of those which were once wayside chapels have since been engulfed by buildings.  This chapel, sadly, is very much a rarity in that it is still as most wayside chapels once were, surrounded by countryside and a beacon for any farmer to say a few prayers on his way to work.

Or, more likely, those taking the road in front of it in order to go round the heavy traffic that blocks other routes.

It seems that this chapel dedicated to San Blas was first built at around 1430 but over the next century it fell into ruin before being rebuilt in 1691.

The story of San Blas, the patron saint to whom this chapel is dedicated, is a rather unusual one for the simple reason that very little is known about him other than that he was a Bishop who lived in Armenia at around the fourth century.  It is always fascinating that a story that took place so far away ended up finding its way to Malta not just through this chapel but also a number of locations over the islands.

That is probably due to the cult and legend that grew around the story of this Saint which state that he was a doctor who had been elected to be the community’s bishop.  Persecution of Christians led him to escape to the mountains and when he was finally found in a cave, he was surrounded by wild animals that he was tending for.  Which is also why he got to be the patron saint of wild animals.

Rather fitting, then, that a number of birds seem to have made their nests in the windows of this chapel.


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