G.M. Fra Antoine De Paule
ANTOINE DE PAULE BECOMES GRANDMASTER
Grand Master Luis Mendes de Vasconcellos died on 7th March, 1623 at the venerable age of eighty years. Three days later Antoine De Paule, from the langue of Provence, was made Grand Master.
In the meeting held amongst the Order of St’ John’s dignitaries to choose the new Grand Master, a Maltese priest and a member of the order, Salvatore Imbroll was one of the speakers. He was a great friend of Antoine De Paule, who at that time was the Prior of St.Gilles. This priest was held in high esteem by the Order and it is believed that following an oratory by this Maltese priest, during which he made an eulogy to his friend, the dignitaries decided to appoint De Paule as Grand Master.
THE GRANDMASTER'S TOIL TO BUILD PAOLA
Many people decided to move to Valletta when the capital city was built - this created an overpopulation problem. The same had happened in the area surrounding Vittoriosa when this was the capital city – in fact this resulted in the building of Cospicua and Senglea. However this time, for reasons of security to the fortifications, the Order of St.John did not want to issue any permits for settlements in front of Valletta’s bastions.
As a solution, G.M. De Paule ordered a new village to be built on the hill known as "Ta L-Gherien" (translated literally – "Of the Caves"). This hill was nearer to the harbour than Tarxien, which was already an established village. It was an ideal place for those people who lived in villages far from their place of work. The G.M. gave this order in 1626 - but his plan did not succeed. The people living in Valletta sustained that this new village was not protected since bastions did not surround it. Others were not willing to leave their present village, which usually was their place of birth, to go and live to a new village. The knights arrival to Malta resulted in he cities becoming more protected and so the only way to convince people to move was that their new place would be secured by fortifications. To encourage the people to go and live G.M. de Paule built a new church dedicated to St.Ubaldesca. This saint in her living days was a member of the Order of St. John. The knights venerated her very much. The building of this church started on the 25th August, 1630 by G.M. de Paule himself.
Detail of Mausoleum dedicated to G.M. Fra Antoine De Paule - St.John's Co-Cathedral, Valletta
The Mausoleum to G.M. Fra Antoine De Paule in St. John's Co-Cathedral, Valletta.
A mausoleum dedicated to G.M. Fra Antoine De Paule may be found at John's Co-Cathedral in Valletta, Malta. This is found in the Chapel of the Langue of Provence, which is the first chapel in the Norther Aisle.
The altar of this chapel was renewed in white marble by the prior of the church Melchior Alpheran de Bussan (1713-1734) in 1732. The altar-facade with its four twisted columns has been preserved from the late 1620s.
The mausoleum is later Mannerist work with profused motifs and decorative details particulary marble inlays.
COINS USED DURING THE TIME OF ANTOINE DE PAULE
The following are some of the coins used during the times when De Paule was Grand Master of the Order of St.John :-
The Coat of Arms of G.M. Fra Antoine De Paule at the Grandmasters' Palace, Valletta, Malta