St Paul the Apostle spent three months on the island of Mljet in Croatia
Darko Žubrinić, 2009
Saint Paul had shipwreck on Croatian island of Mljet, and not on Malta. This is the subject of the monumental book written in elite Latin language by Ignjat Đurđević, published in Venice in 1730. Ignjat Đurđevic was Croatian Baroque writer from the city of Dubrovnik. The island of Mljet is not far from Dubrovnik.
Sv. Vlaho (= St. Blais, St. Blasius) on the left, protector of the City, by Croatian Renaissance painter Nikola Božidarević (~1460 – 1517).
On the right St. Paul the Apostle, another protector of the City. The painting is kept in the Dominican Monastery in Dubrovnik.
Photo by Ivo Pervan.
It was Dr. Miho Demović who initiated an important project of Croatian translation of Ignjat Đurđević's 1730 monograph. Đurđević's book proves that St Paul's shipwreck occured on Croatian island of Mljet, not on Malta. For example, Malta is not in Adria (the Adriatic Sea), but in Lybian sea.
Publication of the book
Ignjat Đurđević: Sveti Pavao apostol brodlomac (St Paul the Apostle Castaway), Miho Demović (ed), Dubrovačke knjižnice, 2008., 360 pp. (Ignjat Đurđević's 1730 book translated from elite Latin into Croatian by Jozo Marević, with extensive foreword by Dr Miho Demović in Croatian and English), ISBN 978-953-97952-3-0
was a great event in 2008, proclaimed The Year of Saint Paul by pope Benedict XVIth.
The editor in chief of Croatian translation is Dr. Miho Demović, outstanding Croatian historian and musicologist. The 2008 translation was printed in hardcover, and the first 104 pp contain Scholarly introduction written by Dr. Miho Demović in Croatian and English:
The Croatian version of Demović's introductory study is available on pp 5*-60*, and in English on pp 61*-104*. This web page is based mainly on Miho Demović's study.
The following 360 pp of the book contain Croatian translation of Đurđević's original treatise published in elite Latin. The book contains several indices: Index of cited authors, Index of terms, and Index of photos.
Đurđević's 1730 book was translated from elite Latin into Croatian by Dr. Jozo Marević, Dubrovnik. Elite Latin is not easy to read even to those with solid background in Latin language. Therefore the book was accessible only to a narow circle of top scholars. Now with Croatian translation of the book and the accompaning scholarly study published in English, the book became available to much borader public. We extend our congratulations to Dr. Miho Demović and all of his collaborators for their painstaking and important work.
As Dr. Miho Demović stressed,
Until recently it was believed that the first person to identify the location of Saint Paul's shipwreck near Mljet was the father of European historigraphy, the Greek emperor and historian Constanine Porphyrogenitus (905-959) who, describing the south Dalmatian islands in his work "On Administering the Empire", wrote the following:
However, scholars have recently discovered new information in The Geography of distinguished Armenian scholar Ananias of Shirak, written between 592-636 AD, which confirms that Saint Paul stayed in Dalmatia following a shipwreck that happened on the Adriatic island of Melita (Mljet). See Robert H. Hewsen: The Geography of Ananias of Širak, Wiesbaden 1992, p. 47.
After Porphyrogenitus, the 16th century Italian historian of Dubrovnik (Ragusa) Serafino Razzi, Dominican and for a while Vicar of Capitular of the Ragusan Metropolitan see, claimed the same. He set forth the following:
Razzi thought that the shipwreck couldn not have taken place in Malta because Malta was situated in the African, instead of in the Adriatic Sea.
Đurđević claimed at the beginning of his book the following
It is interesting that
while Malta was under the Spanish government, Đurđević was supported in
his views by both English and French scholars. However, when Malta came
under the English protectorate, the circumstances changed and the
English writers stood up for the Maltese option. Something similar
happened to the French writers when Malta was conquered by Napolen
Issuing of Croatian translation of Bartol Đurđević's monumental book was made possible by a generous finantial support of prof. Pavica Šundrica-Šperk. She is retired professor of English language at a Dubrovnik high school.
Dr. Miho Demović initiated organizing a conference in Dubrovnik in November 2008, dedicated to Đurđević's monograph. The participants explored numerous proofs, direct and indirect, that St Paul spent three months on the island of Mljet in Croatia, and not on Malta.
Some of Đurđević's Croatian texts are available via Wikipedia. He was a tri-lingual poet: he wrote in Croatian, Italian and Latin.
A result of centuries old tradition of St. Paul in Croatia is that there are as many as 320 versions of Croatian second names based on the name of "Paul". It is estimated that about 10000 people in Croatia are bearing such second names.
A part of more than three hundred versions of second names existing in Croatia, based on the name of "Paul":
Pauković, Paul, Paulaj, Paulenko, Paulić, Pavčec, Pavačić, Pavaković, Pavalić, Pavčec, Pavčević, Pavešić, Pavetić, Pavičić, Pavel, Pavelić, Pavelin, Pavelka, Pavešković, Pavetić, Pavić, Pavičević, Pavičić, Pavin, Paviša, Pavišević, Pavišić, Pavko, Pavković, Pavlečić, Pavlek, Pavleković, Pavlenović, Pavletić, Pavličić, Pavlički, Pavlić, Pavličević, Pavlini, Pavličko, Pavličkov, Pavlinec, Pavlinek, Pavlinovec, Pavlinović, Pavliško, Pavlov, Pavlović, Pavlovski, Pavo, Pavoševec, Pavuna, Pavunić, etc. etc.
The Armenian, Ananias of Shirak, stated in his Geographia from the beginning of the 7th century, that St Paul the Apostle had been shipwrecked near the Island of Mljet (and not on Malta). Likewise, the Byzantine emepror historian [Porphyrogenitus, D.Ž.] from the end of 9th century in his renowned work "De Administrando Imperio" also mentioned the same fact. Both these ancient writers maintain categorically that St Paul's shipwreck took place in the waters of the Island of Mljet. St Paul's stay in the Illyricum, together with his disciple St Luke, were mentioned by the first Christian writers, St Jerome (345-420), St Gregory of Nazanius (330-390), and some others.
See Robert H. Hewsen: The Geography of Ananias of Širak, Wiesbaden 1992, p. 47.
Dr. Antun Ničetić o plovidbi svetoga Pavla, Vatikanski Radio 7. kolovoza 2012., [MP3]
Zlatko Pavetić (ed): The Journey of Paul the Apostle to Rome led over the Croatian Island of Mljet (Melita) / Put apostola Pavla za Rim vodio je preko hrvatskog otoka Mljeta (Melite), Proceedings of the academic conference held on Mljet (Melita) 15 October 2011 / Zbornik radova znanstvenog skupa odr\anog na Mljetu (Meliti) 15. listopada 2011., Zagreb, 2015., ISBN 978-953-58133-0-9, 356 pp, in English and Croatian, hard cover, with color photos and maps
Those interested in purchasing this book can write to
Selected articles from the Proceedings:
Dr Miho Demović: PREFACE
Dr Miho Demović: TWO MILLENIA OF DUBROVNIK TRADITION OF SAINT PAUL'S SHIPWRECK IN THE WATERS OF CROATIAN ISLAND OF MLJET, Conclusion and Summary
Dr Miho Demović: FOLLOWING HIS SHIPWRECK, ST PAUL THE APOSTLE SAILED TO ROME ON AN ALEXANDRIAN SHIP FROM THE ANCIENT HARBOUR OF POLAČE ON MLJET IN THE YEAR 61 A. D.
Dr Miho Demović: THREE FAMOUS SHIPWRECK SURVIVORS FROM DUBROVNIK
V. Palunko: Melita, otok brodoloma sv. Pavla jest otok Mljet u Dalmaciji, s talijanskog preveo i uvodnu studiju napisao dr. Niko Kličan, ur. Miho Demović, Zagreb 2009. (naslov talijanskog izvornika, Vicko Palunko: Melita del naufragio di S. Paolo e isola Meleda in Dalmazia, Spalato 1919.)
Hrbat knjige ima prikazanu mljetsku zmiju. To je vjerojatno jedincata takva knjiga u svijetu.
Predstavljanje spomenutog Zbornika u Pomeni na otoku Mljetu 29. lipnja 2015. u povodu Dana općine:
Darko Žubrinić: Brodolom sv. Pavla apostola na hrvatskom otoku Mljetu 61. g. poslije Krista, predavanje održano u Pomeni 29. lipnja 2015. i u Dubrovniku u Samostanu Male Braće 30. lipnja 2015.
Predstavljanje Zbornika u Samostanu Male Braće u Dubrovniku dne 30. lipnja 2015.:
Sveti Pavao apostol brodolomac, Dubrovačke knjižnice
Studijsko putovanje na otok Mljet 2008.
U Dubrovniku predstavljena knjiga Sv. Pavao apostol brodolomac (2008.)
Znate li gdje je sv. Pavao doživio brodolom? (HTV)
Island of Mljet
Mrs. Pavica Šperk Šundrica and dr. Miho Demović in the Monastery of Minor Brothers
in Dubrovnik, 2015.
The problem of incorrect attribution of St. Paul's Shipwreck to Malta is discussed in the following book written by rev. Neale, who was an Anglican priest:
J. M. Neale: Notes, Ecclesiogical and Picurescue, on Dalmatia, Croatia, Istria, Styria, with a visit to Montenegro [PDF1] or [PDF2], London 1861.
We provide pages 161-163 of this book:
Many thanks to Mr. Juraj Lokmer for his kind information about this book.
Portrait of St. Paul by Andrija Medulic (Andrea Schiavone, Andrea Meldola de Hiadra, ~1500-1563),
distinguished Croatian painter born in Zadar or Nadin. The portrait is kept in the National and University Library, Zagreb.
Source of the photo M. Maštrović (ur.): Andrija Medulić Schiavone, katalog, NSK, Zagreb 2016.