PETALING JAYA: There are many houses of worship in Malaysia that leave people in awe of their exquisite architecture. More than just places where the faithful gather to pray, these sites also often have a compelling and rich history.
Two of those places include the famous Christ Church in Melaka and the St Mary’s Anglican Cathedral in Kuala Lumpur – whose buildings are a lovely reminiscence of time past.
FMT takes a look at five other beautiful churches in the country.
St Peter’s Church, Melaka
St Peter’s Church is said to be the oldest operational Roman Catholic church in Malaysia. Located in Melaka, it is beautifully preserved and has a gorgeous white facade.
Here’s a fun fact: although the church was constructed in 1710, it has an even older bell! It was made in Goa, India back in 1608 and was brought over from another church that was burnt by the Dutch.
When the foreign power first took over Malacca from the Portuguese in 1641, they persecuted the Catholics in the state – and this included destroying their churches.
It wasn’t until a later date that the Portuguese Catholics in Malacca had an easier time. It is even believed that the land on which the church is built was donated by a Dutch gentleman.
St George’s Church, Penang
Against the backdrop of a blue sky, St George’s church in Penang’s George Town is undeniably a charming sight. With its sturdy Grecian columns, one can’t help but draw comparisons between the Anglican church to buildings in ancient Greece.
Constructed in the 19th century, the plans for the church building are generally attributed to Governor William Petrie and Robert N Smith of Madras Engineers.
However, it was the hands of Indian convicts who built the building with brick and lime mortar on a solid plastered stone base. There is also a memorial for Francis Light – the founder of the British colony in the state – on its lawn.
However, the church was nearly destroyed during the Japanese occupation, when it suffered serious damage in an air raid. Much of its contents were also subsequently stolen.
It wasn’t until 1948 – when repair work was completed – that services for parishioners resumed. In 2007, the church was declared a Malaysian National Treasure.
Church of the Holy Rosary, Kuala Lumpur
Although there are many skyscrapers in the capital city of Kuala Lumpur, the Church of the Holy Rosary is able to hold its own among them – despite being more than a century old.
In 1903, one Father Terrien was tasked to care for the Chinese Catholic community in Kuala Lumpur and he decided to build a church. He subsequently identified and bought a piece of land in Brickfields.
Construction then followed and the church was completed 18 months later. However, it had no steeple and wings at first. These were only added to the structure in later years.
St Michael’s and All Angels Church, Sabah
The St Michael’s and All Angels church in Sandakan, Sabah is a quaint-looking stone building that dates back to the 19th century.
Designed by a New Zealand architect BW Mountfort, it is said that the church was modelled after ChristChurch Cathedral in his country.
There are also stained-glass windows in this Anglican church – an initiative by relatives of some Australian Prisoners of War. Apart from being a memorial to the brave soldiers, they also wanted to extend a gesture of appreciation to the locals who risked their lives to help these soldiers during the Japanese occupation.
The church is also part of the Sandakan Heritage Trails – a walk that connects important historical sites in the town.
Church of our Lady of Lourdes, Selangor
Almost a century old, the Church of our Lady of Lourdes is located at Jalan Tengku Kelana in Klang, also known as “Little India”.
The pristine white church, built in 1928, also stands proudly beside Convent Klang, another popular landmark in the royal town.
Before the construction of the church, mass services were conducted in a humble wooden chapel.
However, in 1923, when Reverend Father John Baptist Souhait was tasked to look after the Catholics in Klang and its neighbouring districts, he realised the need for a church building where the congregation could gather.
The construction work subsequently started in 1925 and was completed three years later.
Souhait, who had an interest in architecture, influenced the design of the church. It is said that he was inspired by a church with Gothic architecture that he knew of in Lourdes, France.