St Paul's Church

A quick early morning buffet breakfast with my mum at the hotel before heading out to sightsee! Our first stop of the day was to St Paul’s Church.

The last time I climbed up to the St Paul’s Church was on my JC’s excursion trip to Malacca with all my classmates! This church on the hill was initially built as  “Chapel of the Annunciation”, which was built in 1521 by Duarte Coelho in gratitude to the Virgin Mary for saving his life in the South China sea. It was later given the Society of Jesus and a burial vault was opened in 1592. Many people of distinction were buried there, including Pedro Martins, the second Bishop of Funay, Japan.

The most famous history of this church is the fact that the catholic Saint, Francis Xaiver, was once buried here temporary.He died in 1553 and asked to have his body brought back to Goa. The journey was long and stopped by Malacca for 9 months. The open grave in the church, now covered by a wire mesh, marks the place of Francis’ temporary burial. The Pope canonized Francis in 1614, but only upon condition that Francis’ right arm be brought to Rome (this was the arm Francis used to bless his converts). The arm was detached by Pr. Gen. Claudio Acquaviva in 1614 and put on display in a silver reliquary at the church of Il Gesu in Rome. Legend says that when the arm was removed, blood flowed as freely from the wound as it had when Xavier’s finger was removed.

In 1952, a statue of St. Francis Xavier was erected in front of the ruins of the church in commemoration of the 400th anniversary of his sojourn in Malacca. A day after the statue was consecrated, a large casuarina tree fell on it, breaking off its right arm . Incidentally, the right forearm of Xavier was detached in 1614 as a relic.

The journey downhill to the other side lead us to Fort A’Famosa. After the Portuguese captured Melaka, they built a fortress to defend themselves. The fortress, called A’Famosa suffered severe destruction during the Dutch invasion. What’s left today is just the entrance walls, still well preserved till today.


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