XirCammini is a relatively new voluntary organisation that was set up to explore and spread information of ancient pilgrim routes across Europe. The organisation also assists anyone interested in exploring these itineraries by developing routes across Malta.
One such route is a 28-kilometre walk starting from Mdina’s Cathedral through to The St Gregory’s Church in Zejtun.
The Melita Foundation is proud to be supporting XirCammini because such pilgrimages encourage cultural interest and unveil significant characteristics of our shared history. The President of XirCammini, James Portelli, explained that, “faith walks not only encourage tourism and faith travel to Malta but also encourage locals to learn about the history and nature of the Maltese Islands.”
The name of the organisation – XirCammini – is a merger of two words. The first is ‘Xirca’ derived from old Maltese meaning ‘society’, and the second, ‘Cammini’, is derived from the Italian language, meaning ‘Walks’. The amalgamation of the words is a symbol of openness appealing to locals and tourists, those who have experienced a pilgrimage in the past, and anyone else who’s just starting to nurture this interest.
Prof. Tanya Sammut Bonnici, Chair of The Melita Foundation, said, “Pilgrimages have always formed an imperative part of Europe’s belief traditions. The activity is still alive today as people undertake pilgrimages and faith walks for many different reasons including natural, physical and spiritual benefits. Among other objectives, The Melita Foundation aims to raise cultural and environmental consciousness, making a partnership with XirCammini the perfect marriage.”
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. Since being established, the foundation has already allocated more than €150,000 to various projects with more than €50,000 going to environmental initiatives.