Photo: The rather austere facade of Melaka's Church of St Peter.

St Peter’s Church

Our rating:

The founding of St Peter’s Church, the oldest functioning Catholic church in Malaysia, marked the beginning of a more religiously tolerant society in Melaka (for a short time at least).



After the Portuguese captured Melaka in 1511, until it fell to the Dutch in 1641, Melaka’s rule was assisted by the heavy hand of the Roman Catholic Church, but the tables turned with the Calvinist Dutch when Catholic churches were destroyed and practices were forbidden. Due to political changes in Europe and allegiances formed between the Dutch and Portuguese during the War of the Spanish Succession, religious freedom was proclaimed in Melaka. Not only were Catholics able to openly practice their faith, but it’s said that Melaka became a more tolerant place for all religions than it had ever been under the Portuguese.

Inside the church. Photo taken in or around St Peter’s Church , Melaka, Malaysia by Sally Arnold.

Inside the church. Photo: Sally Arnold

The Church of St Peter was built on land donated by a Dutch convert, and completed in 1710. The simple mannerist-style church lacks excessive decoration, but is rather beautiful in its modesty with a triptych of doors and windows gracing the flat facade. Newly painted when we visited last in 2017 in bright white, with details are picked out in blue.

The bell tower has a small statue of the Virgin at its base and the bell itself is older than the church, cast in Goa in 1608. The interior is finished with a distinctive wooden vaulted ceiling and most interesting, a number of old gravestones embedded in the floor, including one inscribed in Armenian script. Similar can be seen in the Dutch Protestant (now Anglican) Christ Church in Dutch Square. Have a wander around the adjoining presbytery to admire similar architecture.

So much history, so many stories. Photo taken in or around St Peter’s Church , Melaka, Malaysia by Sally Arnold.

So much history, so many stories. Photo: Sally Arnold

Mass is held Tuesday to Friday at 07:30, Saturday at 17:00 and Sunday at 10:15. The Feast of St Peter (Fiesta de San Pedro) is held on 29 June, although more festivities take place in the Portuguese settlement. A sign outside the church requests visitors to dress modestly and cover shoulders and knees (no shorts, tank tops or flip-flops).


St Peter’s Church
166 Lorong Bendahara, Melaka

By .

Location map for St Peter’s Church

Popular attractions in Melaka

A selection of some of our favourite sights and activities around Melaka.



Best places to stay in Melaka

A selection of some of our favourite places to stay in Melaka.


What next?

 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Melaka.
 Check prices, availability & reviews on Agoda or Booking
 Read up on where to eat on Melaka.
 Check out our listings of other things to do in and around Melaka.
 Read up on how to get to Melaka.
 Do you have travel insurance yet? If not, find out why you need it.
 Planning on riding a scooter in Melaka? Please read this.
 Browse tours in Malaysia with Tourradar.




Like what you see? Then you’ll love our newsletter

The Travelfish newsletter is sent out every Monday and is jammed full of free advice for travel in Southeast Asia. You can see past issues here.


See below for more sights and activities in Melaka that are listed on Travelfish.org.


Top of page