Hunters to hold their annual gun salute to Saint Julian, their patron saint

The patron saint of hunters, St Julian’s, is given an annual gun salute by the FKNK fraternity

This is the 35th year of the salute that is organised by the hunters’ lobby FKNK, by shooting blanks into the air from the St Julian’s parish church.
This is the 35th year of the salute that is organised by the hunters’ lobby FKNK, by shooting blanks into the air from the St Julian’s parish church.

Maltese hunters today Sunday gather at the parish church of St Julian’s for their annual salute to their patron saint.

This is the 35th year of the salute that is organised by the hunters’ lobby FKNK, by shooting blanks into the air from the St Julian’s parish church.

In other villages, this salute is carried out using muskets, the FKNK said.

“The hunters of St Julian’s and San Gwann attend for this salute, but any other hunter is invited to participate. The FKNK are the principal sponsors of this event, and anybody is invited.”

Hunters will be gathering at the St Julian’s parish church hall at 6:30pm. After the salute, the FKNK will be releasing a number of Turtle Dove raised in captivity by FKNK members.

The flag of the village of St Julian’s is the Belgian tricolor, representative of the alleged birthplace of the saint himself in Ath, Belgium – one of three alleged birthplaces, the others being Le Mans in France and Naples, Itay.

The venerated Roman Catholic saint is believed to have been born in 7AD, and legend has it that on the night Julian was born, his father, a man of noble blood, saw pagan witches secretly lay a curse on the boy that would make him kill both his parents.

His father wanted to get rid of the child, but his mother did not let him do so. The boy, upon learning of the sin he was destined to commit, fled the household in a bid to evade such a fate. Some versions depict Julian by a stag he met while hunting, which was the animal that told him of his fate.

The legend goes on that after settling in Galizia, in Spain, Julian’s parents set out to find him. There they were welcomed by Julian’s wife who, according to the De Varazze legend, “took care of them well and had them rest in her and Julian’s bed.”

De Verazze claims Julian was deceived by the Devil, telling him that his wife was seen in bed embracing another man while he was out hunting. Julian rode back home, went to his bed and found a man and a woman sleeping in it. He drew his sword and killed them both – not realising they were his parents.

Devotion to St Julian started in the Maltese islands in the 15th century after the discovery of his relics in the city of Macerata. It was introduced by the noble family of De Astis, high-ranking in Malta at the time, who had strong connections with the Bishop of Macerata.

Three churches were built in his honour before the arrival of the Knights: in Tabia, towards Mdina, in Luqa, and in Senglea, the latter holding a storage room for hunters. Being an order of hospitalliers, the Knights of St John helped widen further this devotion. In 1539 they rebuilt the church in Senglea and in 1590 built another church in the parish of Birkirkara, a section that since then was called St Julian’s.

In 1891 the church was made a parish, the only one ever dedicated to the saint in Malta.

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