The origins of Il-Mixja ta’ San Girgor, annually on the 12th March possibly from the early 16th century, are unknown. The reasons may have been votive, for example, as thanksgiving after a corsair attack, or a period of draught or pestilence. In 1543, Bishop Domenico Cubelles adopted the same walk, from Citta Notabile (Mdina) to le terre di Santa Caterina (Zejtun) as a peace walk (pro pace universali), at a time when Christian reformation was threatening the old world order. All the faithful at the time would have congregated in Mdina and walked through the medieval parishes en-route to Zejtun on the feast of St. Gregory. The statue of St. Gregory at the end of the walk, next to the old church of St Catherine, in Zejtun, faces Mdina and the start of the walk. Subsequently, new parishes were added and the route of the pilgrimage changed. The feast date of St. Gregory also changed (to September) as did the date of the pilgrimage from 12th March to first Wednesday following Easter. The religious pilgrimage, nowadays, is only from the church of St. Clement to the church of St. Gregory, both in Zejtun. This religious event is complemented annually by cultural festivities organised by Kultura, the Culture Directorate. Secular festivities culminate in a walk from Zejtun to Marsaxlokk and the “first swim” of the year.
XirCammini, an NGO dedicated to faith & heritage hiking has, in recent years, re-created the Universal Peace Walk 1543AD® hike. The hike, supported by a guidebook, Kredenzjal tal-Pellegrin, a website, an app and waymarks, is available for solo hikers as well as for group walks. Additionally, XirCammini organises the event annually for its members, on the weekends closest to the 12th March (original feast of St. Gregory) and the 25th of November (original feast day of St Catherine), working closely with the various parishes to open churches and chapels en-route.
3rd April 2024
On Wednesday, 3rd April, XirCammini will be teaming up with Kultura (the Directorate of Culture) and walking the Universal Peace Walk 1543AD®. We aim to reach Zejtun in time to follow the church pilgrimage from the church of St. Clement to the church of St. Gregory, led by His Excellency, the Archbishop of Malta.
Interested in joining us?
Date | Time: On 3rd April 2024 we park our cars in Marsaxlokk at 03:30 a.m. and transport will take us to Rabat so that we start the walk from Cathedral Square, Mdina, at 04:15 a.m. We aim to reach the church of St Clement by 09:15 a.m. to join the procession starting from the church of St Clement at 09:30.
After the procession, for those brave enough to continue, we’ll continue to Marsaxlokk for a swim and a ftira biz-zejt!
Follow this link to register. The event is free of charge. XirCammini and the Cultural Directorate will be providing one-way transport to Mdina in the morning and a pilgrim-pack.