Maritime Malta Series III - Ex-Voto Paintings - Set
Maritime Malta Series III - Ex-Voto Paintings - Set for only GBP £2.18
The Maritime Malta Series III set consists of three stamps depicting Ex-Voto paintings to the Madonna of Mellieha.
The term Ex-Voto is short for the Latin term 'from the vow made' and is used in the Roman Catholic Church to refer to an offering that is placed in a church or shrine in thanksgiving of a miracle received.
The custom of offering gifts to deities or spirits in thanks for protection goes back to ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt. The custom was later incorporated into the Christian religion and became an expression of faith. Ex-Voto are also offered in thanksgiving for unexpected miracles and serve as public affirmations of gratitude towards God or a particular saint.
The two most common types of Ex-Voto are objects or paintings, as are depicted on the three stamps of this issue.
The € 0.51 stamp is a representation of a promise made by Captain Giuseppe Giacomo and his crew on the Brigantine 'Concezione' when on the 28th December 1835, they found themselves in the shallow waters on the coast of Alexandria during a great thunderstorm. A huge wave swept on board, broke part of the boat and carried it astern. The crew members aboard the ship prayed to the Madonna of Mellieand miraculously found themselves in safer waters.
The painting portrayed on the € 0.82 stamp was part of a promise made by Giovanni Ellul when he was on the 'Barque Matutina' on the 17th January 1839. During a great thunderstorm Ellul together with the other crew members found themselves blown sideways on the shallow banks at the mouth of the river Devripul. Those present aboard this ship prayed to the Blessed Virgin of Mellieand the following morning the pilot arrived and safely guided the ship into the river.
The 1.00 stamp depicts an Ex-Voto made by Captain Giuseppe Diacono and his crew of the Speronara (sailing coaster) 'S.Francesco di Paula' to the Blessed Virgin of Melliewhen their rudder broke somewhere between Linosa and Lampedusa on the 9th December 1843.
These Ex-Voto paintings can be found in the Sanctuary of our Lady in the village of Mellieha.