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St Paul’s Church, Malacca – Temporary Burial Ground for St Francis Xavier

The St Paul’s Church, Malacca (Jalan Kota, 75000 Malacca, Malaysia) is located on the summit of St Paul’s Hill. Moving beyond the A’ Famosa Fortress remains, is a flight of stairs up the hill to the remains of the St Paul’s Church. Together with the A’ Famosa fortress and the Stadthuys, they form part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site in Malacca.

St Paul's Church, Malacca

St Paul’s Church, Malacca

The church was originally a Catholic chapel built by the Portuguese in 1521. It was known as Chapel of Our Lady of the Hill during that time. After the Dutch had defeated the Portuguese, the chapel was renovated, expanded and renamed to St Paul’s Church as we know it today. It was used as a place of worship and was subsequently turned into a burial ground and cemetery. There are numerous granite tombstones found behind the ruins of the church of great Dutchman of that time.

St Paul's Church Tombstone

St Paul’s Church Tombstone

The church is famous for being the place where St Francis Xavier, a renowned Catholic missionary to South East Asia was laid to rest for eight months after his death at sea during his missionary works. The remains of the church are now only in ruins. However, you will still be able to see the thick, sturdy bricks used to build the church. There is an open grave behind the church, protected and surrounded by wire mesh which is the place where St Francis Xavier’s body was laid to rest temporarily. A statue of St Francis Xavier was erected in front of the church.

St Francis Xavier's Temp Burial Site

St Francis Xavier’s Temp Burial Site

Love St Paul’s Church, Malacca? We found four other historical and heritage sites which reflect the coming together of historical and cultural influences from the Asia with those of Europe across the long span of time. Take a look at the St John’s Fort, the A’ Famosa Fortressthe Stadthuys and the Cheng Hoong Teng Temple to find more about each place!

Photos credit: Tourism Malaysia