St Paul's Church Melaka

Saint Paul's Church, Melaka Overview

Built in 1521, St. Paul's Church in Malacca is the oldest in Southeast Asia and Malaysia. With a 5-century history, Saint Paul Church Melaka's walls with engraved tombstones, St. Francis Xavier's statue, and bell tower remain.

The church was built by Duarte Coelho, a Portuguese captain, for the Virgin Mary in gratitude for saving his life out at sea. Located on the summit of St. Paul's Hill, the ruins of the old church form part of the Malaccan Museum Complex, housing A Famosa fort, Stadthuys, and various other historical edifices. There are souvenir stores located near St Paul's Church complex, and the church is thronged by tourists to click pictures, read the inscriptions on the tombstones, and enjoy the gorgeous view from the hilltop.

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Architecture of Saint Paul Church

Armless Statue
Standing right in the church complex is the armless marble statue of St. Francis Xavier. There’s also an open tomb of St. Xavier in the church surrounded by a fence. Here, St. Xavier was buried temporarily for 9 months before being taken to Goa. In 1614, St. Xavier’s right forearm was severed on the order of Vatican to be taken to Rome. It’s believed that even after 60 years of his death, blood still dripped from his severed arm.  In 1953, a statue was erected in his commemoration in the church complex. The day after the statue was consecrated, a branch of a Casuarina tree fell and severed the right forearm.

The dilapidated walls of the church are lined with tombstones of noblemen and their spouses with Portuguese inscriptions on them including the tombstone of Pedro Martins (the second Bishop of Funay, Japan). This Dutch burial vault was built in 1592. The inscriptions have also been translated to English so that everyone can comprehend them.

How to Reach St Paul's Church Melaka

The church is located on the summit of St. Paul Hill in the city centre. One can walk up there from Jalan Kota street and from the gate of Porta De Santiago.

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