The Melita Foundation is supporting XirCammini, a recently established voluntary organisation which aims to research and advance knowledge of ancient pilgrimage routes across Europe and assist those who wish to hike these routes. As part of this mission, XirCammini is developing walks across Malta including a 28-kilometre hike through Central West and Southeast Malta which links Mdina’s Cathedral with the Church of St Gregory in Zejtun.
James Portelli, President of XirCammini, said, “We research pilgrimages and faith walks not only to encourage interest in these culturally important aspects of our collective history but also to provide those taking up these walks with relevant information and support. This includes information on history and nature as well as practical tips on places to stop for rest and refreshments. We are also making this information available digitally to further enhance the user experience while encouraging cultural tourism and faith travel in Malta and across Europe.”
The name XirCammini is amalgamation of two words, one Semitic written in old Maltese ‘Xirca’, meaning society or confraternity, and the other ‘Cammini’, derived from Italian, meaning ‘Walks’. The name symbolises the organisation’s openness to all who support its aims, both those who have already undertaken a pilgrimage and those with a general interest in pilgrimages or hiking.
Prof. Tanya Sammut Bonnici, Chair of The Melita Foundation, said, “Pilgrimages have played an important part in Europe’s faith traditions for centuries, surviving into the modern era for their spiritual, physical, cultural and economic benefits. One of The Melita Foundation’s key objectives is to enhance cultural and environmental awareness, something which XirCammini does perfectly with its research and promotion of these beautiful walks.”
The Melita Foundation was established in February 2020 with an initial donation of €500,000 from Apax Partners, owners of Melita Limited until May 2019. With the full support of EQT, the company’s current owners, all the Foundation’s expenses are being funded entirely by Melita Limited. This means that 100 per cent of the funds available to the Foundation are being used to support projects.