Saturday, June 6, 2009

Christ Church @ Malacca

Christ Church in Melaka. The oldest Protestant church in M'sia.
Christ Church is the oldest functioning Protestant church in Malaysia. Construction began in 1741 on the centennial of the Dutch occupation, and it was completed in 1753. Before this date the Dutch used the old Portuguese church atop St. Paul's hill for their religious services.

Christ Church bears all the hallmarks of 18th-century Dutch architecture: a rectangular plan, massive walls, red granite plinths, and Dutch roof tiles. The ceiling is 12.2 meters above the floor and the roof beams are each cut from a single tree. The building's footprint is a perfect 2:1 proportion: 27 meters on the long end and 13 meters on the short. The pews are original, and so are the windows, but were reduced in size by the British in the 19th century.
Front view of Christ Church.

The church is notable for some unusual objects in the interior (regrettably, photography is not permitted). The church bell is inscribed with the date 1698, suggesting that it was used for another purpose before the completion of the church. Most bizarre are tombstones incorporated into the floor of the church. The tombstones are written in Portuguese and were originally in St. Paul's Church inside the Portuguese fortress. However, they were removed by the Dutch when they occupied Melaka in 1641. Since it is unlikely that the highly religious Dutch would have used Catholic tombstones inside a Protestant church, historians surmise that they were installed there by the British.

A fountain in front of the church.