St. Paul's Church Ruins, Melaka

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  • Small Dutch cemetery
    Small Dutch cemetery
    by IreneMcKay
  • Tomb stones
    Tomb stones
    by IreneMcKay
  • Climbing up to St Paul's Church.
    Climbing up to St Paul's Church.
    by IreneMcKay
  • Gyppo's Profile Photo

    St Paul's church

    by Gyppo Written Jan 11, 2015

    I can't really add anything to the excellent history people have already provided, so instead I'll offer a few tips:

    It's a short climb to the church, but it's exposed and very hot - the steps also look like they might be treacherous if there were to be a downpour while you were at the top. There's a lad selling cold drinks just before the final set of steps who might come in handy.

    There isn't very much to see at the top, unless like me you're interested in reading old gravestones (or unlike me, interested in buying tat from the dozen or so tat-sellers). The church is ruined, but it's still attractive.

    Both times I went, there was a guy with a lizard and a cockatoo selling photo opportunities. Up to you if you take these, but before he started I saw him blowing smoke of some sort in the lizard's nostrils. Seemed unsavoury to me, but your call.

    St Paul's church, Melaka Interior, St Paul's church, Melaka Statue, St Paul's church, Melaka
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    THE STATUE MISSING 2 RIGHT HANDS

    by DAO Written Aug 23, 2014


    In the grounds of St. Paul’s is a marble statue of St. Francis Xavier that was built in 1953. The first thing you notice is that the saint is missing his half of his right arm. St. Francis Xavier was a Catholic missionary who translated the Bible into Malay and was a pioneer in spreading Catholicism across Southeast Asia. During his lifetime it was said that he performed several miracles. He died 1552 and his body was temporarily placed in a burial vault here for nine months. In December 1553 his remains were moved to Goa in India.

    His right forearm was used during his lifetime to bless and baptize his converts. In 1614 this was detached by Priest Gen.Claudio Acquaviva so it could be shipped to Rome. This was to allow the Pope to canonize (make a saint) St. Francis Xavier. Legend says that a miracle occurred and blood began to drip from the wound.

    Now the story gets very interesting.

    The current white marble statue was installed on 22nd March, 1953 to commemorate pioneering missionary work across Southeast Asia while based at Melaka from 1545 to 1552. The next day a large Casuarinas tree fell and snapped off St. Francis Xavier’s right arm! So he has lost his right arm twice!

    The Feast of St. Francis Xavier is celebrated here every year, on the Sunday nearest to 3rd December, by thousands of pilgrims and devotees from across Southeast Asia.

    St. Francis Xavier St. Francis Xavier
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    FORT ST JOHN AND ST PAULS CHURCH RUINS

    by DAO Updated Aug 23, 2014

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    The ruins of St. Paul’s Church are at the summit of St. Paul's Hill. It was built in 1521 on the site of the last Malaccan sultan’s istana (palace). It was constructed by Portuguese fidalgo (nobleman) captain, Duarte Coelho, in gratitude to the Virgin Mary for saving his life during a storm at sea. The Archbishop of Goa (India) turned over the church to the Jesuits in 1548. They moved the body of St. Francis Xavier in 1553 to Goa in 1556 added a second story which is still visible today. Between 1567 and 1596 the Portuguese garrison added gun turrets to the chapel and it became a fort as well. In 1590 a belfry tower was added the church was renamed the Igreja de Madre de Deus (Church of the Mother of God).

    The Dutch invaded Malacca in 1641. St. Pauls was heavily damaged and the belfry tower was destroyed. The Dutch garrison repaired and reinforced the structure – turning it into an extension of the A’ Famosa Fort. The belfry tower was the only part not restored. They re-consecrated it as a Dutch Reformed Church and renamed it St. Paul’s Church and it was used as a Protestant church for about 112 years. When nearby Christ Church was completed in 1753, St. Pauls fell into disuse. When the British arrived in 1824 they added a lighthouse to replace the missing belfry and the complex became storehouse for gunpowder.

    Today it is roofless and overgrown, but still has excellent views of Melaka and is very interesting to explore. The Feast of St. Francis Xavier is celebrated here by thousands of international pilgrims every year, on the Sunday nearest to 3rd December.

    ST PAULS CHURCH RUINS ST PAULS CHURCH RUINS ST PAULS CHURCH RUINS ST PAULS CHURCH RUINS ST PAULS CHURCH RUINS
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    Portuguese Grave Markers

    by machomikemd Written Jun 27, 2014

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    again, starting in 1924, the local Malacca Historical Society excavated and unearthed old potuguese grave markers and marbel slabs and they arranged them inside the ruined church.

    St. Paul's Hill was formerly called Mary's Hill in the Potuguese Times as on the top of the Hill sits the former Portuguese Chapel (called the Nossa Senhora da Annunciada or Our Lady of Grace) built in 1521 by a local portuguese nobeleman who escaped a shipwreck during a storm in the south china sea.

    The chapel became a full church in 1553 and donated to the Jesuits, the great Jesuit Saint Francis Xavier was interred here temporarily during those time before being re interred in Goa in India. The Chapel was then renamed Igreja de Madre de Deus (Church of the Mother of God). After the Dutch Congquest in 1641, the church was reconsecrated into a Dutch Reformed Church named St. Paul's and was the main Dutch Church in Melaka up to 1753, when the Christ Church was built. The hill was renamed St. Paul's Hill too.

    During the British Occupation of 1825, the church was converted into a gun powder magazine storage area.

    The St. Paul Church Gained prominence when it when part of it was excavated by a local malacca historical sociiety and the old portuguese grave stones brought back to the church and in 1950's a Statue of St. Francis Xavier was put at the front of the church.

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    St. Francis Xavier Statue temporary burial place

    by machomikemd Written Jun 27, 2014

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    this wil be my pictures of the more recent statue of Saint Francis Xavier and his temporary internment site inside the church.

    St. Paul's Hill was formerly called Mary's Hill in the Potuguese Times as on the top of the Hill sits the former Portuguese Chapel (called the Nossa Senhora da Annunciada or Our Lady of Grace) built in 1521 by a local portuguese nobeleman who escaped a shipwreck during a storm in the south china sea.

    The chapel became a full church in 1553 and donated to the Jesuits, the great Jesuit Saint Francis Xavier was interred here temporarily during those time before being re interred in Goa in India. The Chapel was then renamed Igreja de Madre de Deus (Church of the Mother of God). After the Dutch Congquest in 1641, the church was reconsecrated into a Dutch Reformed Church named St. Paul's and was the main Dutch Church in Melaka up to 1753, when the Christ Church was built. The hill was renamed St. Paul's Hill too.

    During the British Occupation of 1825, the church was converted into a gun powder magazine storage area.

    The St. Paul Church Gained prominence when it when part of it was excavated by a local malacca historical sociiety and the old portuguese grave stones brought back to the church and in 1950's a Statue of St. Francis Xavier was put at the front of the church.

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  • machomikemd's Profile Photo

    Another Part of the Portuguese Heritage

    by machomikemd Written Jun 27, 2014

    St. Paul's Hill was formerly called Mary's Hill in the Potuguese Times as on the top of the Hill sits the former Portuguese Chapel (called the Nossa Senhora da Annunciada or Our Lady of Grace) built in 1521 by a local portuguese nobeleman who escaped a shipwreck during a storm in the south china sea.

    The chapel became a full church in 1553 and donated to the Jesuits, the great Jesuit Saint Francis Xavier was interred here temporarily during those time before being re interred in Goa in India. The Chapel was then renamed Igreja de Madre de Deus (Church of the Mother of God). After the Dutch Congquest in 1641, the church was reconsecrated into a Dutch Reformed Church named St. Paul's and was the main Dutch Church in Melaka up to 1753, when the Christ Church was built. The hill was renamed St. Paul's Hill too.

    During the British Occupation of 1825, the church was converted into a gun powder magazine storage area.

    The St. Paul Church Gained prominence when it when part of it was excavated by a local malacca historical sociiety and the old portuguese grave stones brought back to the church and in 1950's a Statue of St. Francis Xavier was put at the front of the church.

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  • IreneMcKay's Profile Photo

    The ruins of St Paul's Church.

    by IreneMcKay Updated Nov 26, 2013

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    After visiting the maritime museum we retraced our steps and climbed up St Paul's Hill to the ruins of St. Paul's Church. There are good views over Melaka from here.

    St. Paul's Church started off as a small chapel called the Chapel of the Mother of God.

    The Chapel of the Mother of God was originally built by a Portuguese administrator called Duarte Coelho. He built it to give thanks to God after his miraculous escape from a tempest in the South China Sea.

    In 1548, the chapel was passed on to the Society of Jesus by the archbishop of Goa, Don Albuquerque. St Francis Xavier was given the title deeds on behalf of the Society.

    The Dutch later took over the chapel. They reconsecrated it into a Dutch Reformed Church and called it St. Paul's Church. For the following 112 years the Dutch worshiped here, until they built Christ Church at the foot of the hill. St. Paul's Church was then abandoned.

    When the British took over Malacca in 1824 the Church was used as a storehouse for British gun powder.

    In front of the church there is a Statue of St. Francis Xavier. This was placed here in 1954. The statue is missing one arm which is ironic as St Francis Xavier's body was buried in Goa, but his arm removed and taken to Rome as a holy relic.

    Inside the church there are many gravestones with interesting markings. When I arrived initially a tour group had just descended on the church. They were all posing for photos with the tombstones and it was pretty crowded and unpleasant. When they all left, I re-entered and had a look at the tombstones. They were written in Dutch but with translations provided. Many had lovely carvings.

    There were no attendants looking after the church, but there were stall holders, buskers, a man carrying a cockatoo and a huge lizard and charging for photos with them. One guy who had made drawings of the tombstones started covering the stones with signs saying no-one could take photos of the stones, taking photos was stealing and instead they had to pay him for a picture. I deliberately took photos right in front of him as I was disgusted by him sticking things all over the grave stones and by his pathetic attempt to make money.

    On the walk down the hill I visited the small Dutch cemetery, mercifully peaceful after the circus at the top of the hill. It is well worth visiting, but is nowadays way too touristy.

    Church and St Francis Xavier statue. View from the hill. My husband in the church. Climbing up to St Paul's Church. My husband in the church.
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    Gravestones of St Paul's Church

    by IreneMcKay Written Oct 19, 2013

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    St Paul's Church had some lovey gravestones inside with carvings of sailing ships or skulls and cross bones. I was pleased that there was an English translation of the Dutch writing on the tomb stones. There were also several tomb stones and a little Dutch cemetery as I walked down to the famous gate.

    Tomb stones Tomb stones Tomb stones Looking back up towards the church. Small Dutch cemetery
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    St. Paul's Church

    by Airpunk Updated Mar 31, 2013

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    The Catholic church of St. Paul was built in 1521 and was the main church of the flourishing Portuguese stelling. When the Dutch conquered it in 1641, it became a Dutch Reformed church and continued to be use, until the Christ Church at stadhuys square was finished in 1753. Then, St. Paul's church was deconsecrated and used as a graveyard. The church building itself fell into decay and the situation did not become better when the British used it as a gundpowder storehouse. Next to the building itself, the Dutch 17th century gravestones are of interest. One of them is the gravestone of Maria van Riebeeck, wife of the famous founder of Cape Town. The statue of St. Francis Xavier was placed in front of the church in 1952 to commemorate his arrival in Melaka 400 years before. The day after the statue was unveiled, a tree fell on the statue cutting off his right hand. St. Francis Xavier's right hand was indeed cut off after his death to serve as a relic, but that happened centuries before...

    St. Paul's Church St. Paul's Church - clocktower Former grave of Frau van Riebeck Statue of St. Francis Xavier St. Paul's Church
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    St Paul's Church.

    by Askla Updated Dec 21, 2012

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    St Paul's Church was built by the Portuguese in 1521. St Francis Xavier, a missionary who came to Melaka in 1545, often visited here whenever he passed by Melaka during his travels in the area. His empty tomb can now be seen inside (the body was transfered to Goa in India after nine months) as well as a statue of him in front of the church.
    After the Dutch and later the British came to power, the church lost it's importance and it ended up as a storehouse for gunpowder. It has been a ruin for a long time, more than 150 years anyway.
    To reach the church one has to climb the St Paul's Hill which is very steep and could be hard to do if you are not fit enough. There are in fact better combinations than steep stairs (more than 110 steps) and scorching sun without any shadow...

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    St Paul's Church

    by Mikebb Updated Jan 23, 2012

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    Standing high on the hill overlooking Melaka and the Straits of Malacca this ruin is woth the climb. besides the long history of this church with its Dutch Tombstones there are the magnificent views.

    A small chapel was built in 1521, Our Lady of the Hill. During 1556 the church was enlarged to the 2 storeys that we see in ruin today and named St Paul's Church.

    The Church is associated with St Francis Xavier who regularly visited. in fact after his death in China his body was temporarily interred at St Paul's for 9 months before being transferred to Goa. The ancient tomb remains in the centre of the ruin.

    The church has been in ruins for over 150 years. We first visited this church in 2000 on a family holiday and well worth the climb to visit again.

    St Paul's Church Dutch Tombstones Within Ruins St Paul Plaque Records History  of St Paul St Paul
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    Ruins of St Pauls

    by aussirose Updated Sep 10, 2010

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    Up at the top of St Pauls Hill is the ruins of St Pauls Church.

    It was formerly a chapel named ‘Our Lady of the Hill’ by the Portuguese. The Dutch later renamed it ‘St. Paul’s Church’ .

    On the way up the hill is the original fort built by the Portugese when they arrived in 1511. They called it A Formosa.

    St Pauls Church ruins, Melaka Malaysia
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    St. Paul's Church

    by Willettsworld Written Aug 22, 2010

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    St. Paul's Church now lies in ruins on top of St. Paul's Hill. The hill itself was originally known as Malacca Hill before the church was built. It was renamed Monti Ali Maria, or Mary's Hill after the Portuguese took over. The church was originally a chapel called the Chapel of the Mother of God (Madre de Deus) or Our Lady of the Hill (Nossa Senhora do Oiteiro) and dates back to 1521.

    In 1548, the chapel was passed on to the Society of Jesus by the archbishop of Goa, Don Albuquerque. Francis Xavier received the title deeds on behalf of the Society. In 1556, the Portuguese enlarged the chapel, adding a second storey to it. Further renovation was carried out in 1590 with the addition of a tower.

    When the Dutch wrestled Malacca from the Portuguese in 1641, they destroyed all the Portuguese buildings except for the fortress, on which they placed the Dutch emblem. The Dutch also took over the chapel, repaired and reconsecrated it into a Dutch Reformed Church, calling it St. Paul's Church, a name which remains today. The Dutch used it for their worship for the next 112 years, until they built their own church at the foot of the hill, Christ Church. St. Paul's Church was then abandoned.

    When the British took over Malacca in 1824, St. Paul's Church had lost its tower. However, the British added a lighthouse in front of it and instead of using it as a place of worship, the Church became a convenient storehouse for British gun powder. Old Dutch and Portuguese tombstones can be found inside.

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    the ruin on the hill

    by aalayaa Written Aug 30, 2008

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    we climbed up some steps from porta de santiago, passing some tombstones, and arrived to this place. it's up on a hill with view to the city.
    the building of the church is still there, but no roof. inside we found more tombstones written in latin and dutch. i think it will be scary at nite.

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    Ruins over the hill

    by muratkorman Written May 11, 2008

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    St Paul's Church ruins keep carving stones of Dutch who used to govern Melaka. It is a good spot to look around Melaka and it is always crowded with visiting tourists. As these ruins reflect the colourful history of Melaka, it is worth a visit. Just behind the ruins, you can also visit the Dutch Graveyard.

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