Category: News @ Melaka.

Malaysia’s oldest church is three centuries old

MALACCA: Reference books and historical journals made no mention of the 17th century St. Peter’s Church sited adjacently at Jalan Bunga Raya, Bendahara and Pengkalan Rama here.

However, the numerals ‘1710’ which was boldly etched on the left side of the church facade just above the belfry window is widely accepted as the year the edifice was built.

Nevertheless, St. Peter’s Church is described as Malaysia’s oldest functioning Roman Catholic edifice and a prominent landmark on the state’s historical skyline.

It recently wound a year-long celebration programme comprising faith and spirituality formation sessions.

The finale was a late evening thanksgiving ceremony at Dewan St. Peter followed by an open-air buffet dinner fellowship at the church compound.

A large attendance comprising local and outstation church members and friends, religious community members and clerics numbering over 2,000 including a Roman Catholic delegation from Macau headed by Bishop Jose Lai Hung-seng.

On the subject of variations regarding the year of the church’s construction, history notes that the Portuguese occupation and dominance over Malacca ended when the state fell to the Dutch in 1641.

The war of the Spanish Succession resulted in an alliance being formed between the Portuguese and the Dutch in 1703.

Former parish and historian the late Father M.J. Pintado in his authored book ‘Survival Through Human Values” published in 1974, stated: “In 1702, the Dutch gave a piece of land to one Franz Amboer.

“A few years later he gave the land, on which the church now stands, to the Portuguese missionaries. Since the takeover of the state in 1641 by the Dutch from the Portuguese, the missionaries had never abandoned the local Portuguese community.”

In another part of Pintado’s book, he remarked: “Most likely the first parish priest of St. Peter’s Church was Fr. Domingos Monteiro, as the Bishop of Malacca D.Manuel de Sto Antonio in 1708, requested the Archbishop of Goa to send a priest to Malacca.”

Despite the historical disparities and conjectures, the local Catholic populace proudly admit that St. Peter’s Church has stood the test of time for 300 years.

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Category: News @ Melaka