Religious and Faith Structure in Malta

Religious and Faith Structure in Malta: A Deep Dive

Religion has always played a central role in the lives of people throughout history. From rituals to beliefs, religion has affected nearly every aspect of human society. Malta, a small Mediterranean island country, is no exception to this. The country boasts a diverse religious and faith structure, with over 80% of the population identifying as Roman Catholic. Beyond Catholicism, several other religions and faiths like Protestantism, Islam, and Judaism coexist in Malta. This article will dive deep into Malta’s religious and faith structure, explore its history, and answer some of the frequently asked questions in this area.

Malta: A Short History

The Maltese archipelago, located between Sicily and the coast of North Africa, has seen a variety of different people, cultures, and religions, all of which have influenced its identity and religious background. Malta’s ancient history goes back to the prehistoric era, including the Phoenician period, the Roman and Byzantine empires, and the Arab-Muslim domination. Moreover, the country has experienced various European colonizers, including the Normans, the Aragonese, and the French, who all played a role in shaping Malta’s religious and faith structure.


The Maltese archipelago has been Catholic since St Paul preached on the island back in 60 A.D. Malta’s former colonial ruler, the Knights of St John, a Catholic order, further strengthened Catholicism in Malta’s everyday life. Today, Catholicism remains the dominant religion in Malta. The country has one of the highest ratios of church attendance in the world, with more than 60% attending mass every Sunday. Malta is also home to several beautiful churches and cathedrals that often serve as tourist attractions, their architecture and craftsmanship a testament to the country’s Catholic heritage.


The Protestant movement gained momentum in Malta in the mid-19th century, primarily through British influence. The first Protestant church in Malta was established in 1844 by the Wesleyan Methodist Church, followed by the Church of Scotland, the Anglican Church, and others. Protestantism, however, remains a minority religion in Malta today, representing a meager 1.3% of the population. Many of Malta’s Protestant churches are located within historic buildings or converted houses, often serving small groups of believers.


Islam has also had an impact on Malta, and still, there are small Muslim communities that exist on the island. Malta’s Arab-Muslim period began in 870 AD and lasted until 1090, during which Islam was the dominant religion on the island. Afterward, Siculo-Norman conquest and gradual Christianization replaced the Arab-Muslim rule and dominated at the end of the 13th century. Today, the Muslim community comprises mostly immigrants from North Africa. The Muslim community in Malta is relatively small, with fewer than 0.3% of the population identifying as Muslim.


Judaism has also played a role in Malta’s religious and faith structure. The Jewish community is one of the oldest religious minorities in Malta, with roots going back to 1492, after the eviction of Spanish Jews. In the early-17th century, Malta welcomed a sizable Jewish population that fled Italian Perugia without facing religious persecution. Malta’s Jewish population dwindled during the 20th century, and today there are few Maltese Jews, with most of them being expatriates working on the Maltese Islands. The Jewish community of Malta currently meets in a synagogue built in 1598.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What percentage of the Maltese population is religious?

Over 97% of the Maltese population identifies with one of the many religions in Malta, with Catholicism being the most dominant.

2. Can non-Catholics visit Malta’s churches and cathedrals?

Yes, Malta’s churches and cathedrals are open to visitors of all faiths or those with no religious affiliation. However, there may be specific times when certain churches or areas are not open to visitors due to services or ceremonies.

3. How religious are the Maltese people?

The Maltese people are highly religious, with over 60% of the population attending mass every Sunday.

4. Where can I attend Protestant services in Malta?

Most Protestant churches in Malta are small and located within historic buildings or converted houses. A quick online search should reveal the closest Protestant church in your area.

5. How big is Malta’s Muslim population?

Malta’s Muslim community comprises mostly immigrants from North Africa, and less than 0.3% of Malta’s population identifies as Muslim.

Religions have played a significant role throughout Malta’s history, with Catholicism being the dominant religion making up more than 80% of the population identifying with the religion. Malta’s religious and faith structure is diverse and continues to evolve with the island’s growing modernization. With a high number of churches and cathedrals and other religious institutions across the island, Malta’s religious history can be explored and appreciated by all.