The exceptional ex-voto paintings appeared on a new stamp issue by Malta Post

August 2nd, 2015 got to know that Malta Post has designed a set of three stamps that feature ex-voto paintings depicting a maritime theme. The issue was put on sale on the 29th of July.

The Latin term ex-voto is short for '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 special favour received. There are various collections of ex-voto paintings in the Maltese Islands, most of which are found in sanctuaries, churches and museums and mainly bear testimony to the intercession of the Virgin Mary.

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 shallow waters during a great thunderstorm off the coast of Alexandria.

The painting portrayed on the €0.82 stamp was in respect of a promise made by Giovanni Ellul while on the barque 'Matutina' on the 17th January 1839 when during a great thunderstorm Ellul and his crew found themselves blown on the shallow banks of the river Devripul.

The €1.00 stamp depicts an ex-voto made by Captain Giuseppe Diacono and his crew of the speronara 'S.Francesco di Paula' to the Blessed Virgin of Mellieħa when in December 1843 their rudder broke somewhere between Linosa and Lampedusa. In all situations the crewmembers aboard the ships prayed to the Madonna of Mellieħa and were saved.