Penang Heritage Tip :: Cathedral of the Assumption

Address: 3 Lebuh Farquhar, Penang

Shortly after Captain Francis Light arrived on Penang Island in 1786, he arranged for the first Roman Catholic community of Eurasians to be brought over by ship from the parish in Kuala Kedah. They had emigrated from Phuket and Ligor to Kedah, before moving to Penang due to religious persecution.

The Church of the Assumption, originally founded at Church Street by Father Garnault in 1786, was so named because the first group of Roman Catholic Eurasians from Kedah landed in Penang in 1786 on the eye of the Feast of the Assumption. The church moved to Farquhar Street in 1857, where it occupied a temporary building on the site of the present Convent Orphanage. The present church building and the adjacent presbytery were erected by Father Manissol.

When it opened in 1861, it could accommodate 1,200 worshippers. In 1955, when the church was raised to the status of the Cathedral of the Diocese of Penang, the sanctuary was renovated to set up the seat for the first Bishop of Penang, the Right Reverend Monsignor Francis Chan. The Catholic community around the church has now dwindled to a few homes along Argus Lane, behind the cathedral, including a 19th century Anglo-Indian bungalow adjoining the church compound.

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GPS Coordinates: 5°25’13.15″N, 100°20’15.45″E Geotag Icon Show on map