Don Juan Benegas de Cordoba was a hermit that adopted the grotto where St Paul is said to have lived during his stay in Malta following his shipwreck in 60AD on his way from the Middle East to Rome. From this grotto it is believed that S. Paul preached Christianity and healed the sick.
Don Juan Benegas de Cordoba re-kindled this devotion when he resided in the grotto in the mid-16th century. Over the centuries the grotto has received several dignitaries including Pope Alexander VII, Admiral Lord Nelson, Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI.
Grandmaster Alof De Wignacourt set his eyes on the grotto and endeavoured to establish it as a pilgrimage hub, building a College of chaplains of the Grotto of St Paul, also known as the Chaplains of the Order.
The statue of St. Paul in the grotto was donated by Grandmaster Pinto and was sculpted by Melchiorre Gafà. There is also an ornament of a silver ship that was donated by the Order of St John on the 1900th anniversary of St. Paul’s shipwreck in 1960.
From St Paul’s Grotto the route continues from the church piazza through St. Paul Street to the Church of Nativity of Mary colloquially known as Ta Gieżu.