MORTEM – commemorating the Roman feast of the parentalia at St. Paul’s Catacombs

The Roman feast of the refrigerium or agape is going to be commemorated by Heritage Malta at St. Paul’s Catacombs in an event entitled Mortem on Sunday 12th February.

With this event Heritage Malta will be treating adults and children alike to a day of culture and entertainment. Mortem is being held during the period of what used to be known as the Roman feast of the parentalia. The word Agape was used by the Romans and early Christians to refer to the meal held to commemorate their deceased loved ones.

The entrance of the main complex of the catacomb consists of two large halls and includes two circular tables set in a low platform with sloping sides known as Triclinia or Agape tables. The rites of burial were renewed on a yearly basis and catacombs hosted commemorative meals during the annual festival of the dead.

Another highlight of Mortem will be a short performance depicting a Roman funeral in which the public can participate, followed by a meal based on typical Roman food served during such a celebration. This event also includes treasure hunts for children and lectures on various topics, including Roman soldiers, traditions and the excavation at St. Paul’s Catacombs. 

Other activities include a parade and drill by the Legio X Fretensis re-enactment group. For the occasion, St. Augustine’s Catacombs, which normally are only accessible to the general public on request, will be open to visitors.

This is another event organised by Heritage Malta in its ongoing endeavour to make Malta’s cultural heritage accessible to everyone. For such an occasion the opening hours of this site will be from 9.00am to 6.00pm (last entrance at 5.00pm) and the price reduced to €2, including also admission to St. Augustine’s Catacombs. 

Click here to download event PROGRAMME


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