Saturday, October 1, 2011

St. Paul's Church @ Malacca

St. Paul's Church is probably the oldest church in Malacca. Located at the St. Paul's Hill, it is definitely one of a must see attraction in Malacca.

This church was originally a small chapel built by a Portuguese Captain called Duarto Coelho in 1521 and called "Nosa Senhora - Our Lady of the Hill". The chapel was handed over to the "Society of Jesus" in 1548 and enlarged in 1556 with the addition of a second storey and renamed "Annuciation". A tower was added in 1590.

When the Dutch took over Malacca from the Portuguese, they changed its name to St. Paul's Church and used it for 112 years until they own church, the Christ Church was completed in 1753.

St. Paul's Church lost its tower when the British took over but had one new feature added to it - the lighthouse at the front. The British however did not use the church as a place for worship, instead as a storage place for gunpowder. They also erected a tall flagpole and renamed the hill on which the church is sited to Flagstaff Hill (Bukit Bendera). The name did not last. The flagpole was later taken down and the church abandoned.

Old tombstones found inside the ruins bear silent testimony to the final resting place of several Dutch and Potuguese nationals.

The renowed Spanish born Jesus missionary, St. Francis Xavier was a regular visitor to this church from 1545 to 1552 and when he died, his body was interred here for 9 months before being exhumed and taken to his final resting place in Goa, India.

A statue of St. Francis Xavier was built in 1952 to commemorate his passing and internment here.

The view from the top of St. Paul's Hill is breathtaking. The Taming Sari tower and the town itself are visible from this vantage point.


Tom said...

Hi all,

We have just finished a new post about St. Paul's Church in Melaka!

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