Originally a Roman Catholic chapel, the Santa Marija Tal-Virtù stands out in the skyline as you approach the old capital of Mdina on the island of Malta, has a long and turbulent history.
Abandoned after World War II, the chapel and the land that it sits on were eventually sold to a German entrepreneur. The buyer rarely visited the island and let the place sit empty for years. Over time, Satanists in the area decided to use the space for meetings and rituals. At the top of a solitary road that leads to Malta’s highest point, the chapel was out of the way and perfect for quiet gatherings.
Aware that the owner didn’t live on the island, the Satanists desecrated the property, claiming it as their own. Symbols were carved into the floor and then filled with molten tar to create a permanent set of images. Overturned crucifixes were carved into the walls and painted in black over the altar.
When the owner died, the land was sold to a Maltese contractor who worked to restore the building and convert it back into a chapel. During the restoration work, a 2,000-year-old crypt was discovered underneath the building. A researcher confirmed that the motifs carved around the crypt are Roman, which makes sense given that nearby towns are famous for their Roman catacombs.
Update August, 2017: The chapel is right now on private propriety and it is not possible to visit it.
- The Times of Malta: "Satanists' chapel gets a guardian angel" (October 2009): http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20091024/local/satanists-chapel-gets-a-guardian-angel