St Francis Xavier's Church


Located at Jalan Laksamana, right in the middle of the historical city of Malacca, St. Francis Xavier Church in Melaka was built in 1856, in honour of St. Francis Xavier, a prominent 16th-century Catholic missionary. This twin-spired neo-gothic structure was built on the site of an old Portuguese church by a French priest, Father Farvé and the church’s finishing touches were completed in 1859 by Father Allard, with the present-day presbytery built in 1874.
St. Francis Xavier Church was once the largest church built by the Paris Foreign Missionary (also known as Missions étrangères de Paris or MEP) in the Malay Peninsula. The church was believed to be modelled after the Cathedral of St. Peter in Southern France, Montpellier, which followed closely the older church’s original construction, except for a portico which was later added in 1963. To date, St Francis Xavier Church still serves its function as a Catholic church, with regular mass services being held from time to time. Having been around for more than a century, the church’s structure now leans slightly to the left.
Here, you can see the memorial statues of St. Francis Xavier and Yajiro. Yajiro was a young Japanese man from Kagoshima in Malacca. Yajiro met St. Francis Xavier in 1547 and greatly respected St. Francis Xavier and soon became a faithful disciple of his. He traveled with St. Francis Xavier to Japan in 1549 and introduced him to Lord Shimadzu. Yajiro undertook the responsibility to spread Christianity after St. Francis Xavier left Kagoshima for China in 1552. There is also a time capsule sealed by Rt. Rev. Paul Tan Chee Ing, S.J., Bishop of Melaka-Johore Diocese on 29 August 2010. The time capsule is to be opened in the year 2049 in conjunction with the 200th year anniversary of St. Francis Xavier Church.

History about St. Francis Xavier
In 1545, St. Francis Xavier, the great missionary to the East, also known as “the Apostle of the East”, arrived in Malacca and served the sick and the children here. He left shortly afterwards. However in 1547, St, Francis Xavier came back to Malacca when a military victory was attributed to him. He travelled to many countries and often stopped by Malacca whenever he was around the region. His fame spread far throughout Asia.

In 1574, St. Francis Xavier died in a ship before he could reach China. People found his body perfectly incorrupt, and sailed it to Malacca. People in Malacca were in deep mourning at the funeral. On the day of the funeral, the saint, after his life on earth, performed a miracle and stopped a plague that had been causing many deaths every day. The body of St. Francis Xavier was buried in St. John Hill before they shipped the body to Goa in India, after parts of the relics were stolen. Today, most of his remains still rests in the Basilica of Bom-Jesus in Old Goa.