St. Paul’s Church

Posted by: Sunny T in Church, Malacca, Travel Add comments

St.Paul′s Church is located on top of St.Paul′s Hill and was one of five churches in the fortress complex A Famosa on the hill. The St. Paul’s Church of Melaka was originally a Portuguese chapel built by Duarte Coelho in 1521, in gratitude to Our Lady of Grace (Joao de Barros of the 16th century) for a miraculous escape from an attack on his ship by a fleet in the South China Sea. This chapel was known as Chapel of the Mother of God (Madre de Deus) or Our Lady of the Hill (Nossa Senhora do Oiteiro). In 1548 the Archbishop of Goa in India, Don Albuquerque, handed over the church to the Society of Jesus. St. Francis Xavier, the pioneering Catholic missionary of Southeast Asia, received the title deeds on behalf of the Society.

In 1641, the Dutch took over Malacca from the Portuguese, renamed the chapel to St. Pau’s Church, and used it as their praying place until they completed the construction of their own church – Christ Church. When the Christ Church was established, St. Paul’s Church became a Dutch graveyard with monumental tombstones scattered around.

In 1952, a statue of St. Francis Xavier was built to commemorate the passing of the saint. Originally, the statue was completely constructed with the right arm in place. However, on the morning after the consecration ceremony, a large casuarina tree fell on it and broke off the right arm, resulted in a statue with missing arm until today.

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