Pipe Organs of Malaysia

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5 Jalan Bukit Nanas

Kuala Lumpur St John's Cathedral

The Church of St John the Evangelist was established in 1883 going by the first baptismal record on 11 August 1883.  This 'Mother' church of the Roman Catholics in Malaysia was the only Catholic church in the state of Selangor back in 1883. It was constructed with the help of a wealthy Chinese Catholic miner named Goh Ah Ngee who lived in Kajang, Selangor.

The original church building was simply a long wooden hall with a few windows built on a forested slope of Bukit Nanas (Pineapple Hill) near the colonial heart of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.  The parishioners were a handful of Chinese converts, a few Europeans and Eurasians from Malacca.  The pioneer parish priest was Rev Fr Charles Hector Letessier.  The wooden building was later replaced by a second church building of brick and in the neo-classical style in a cruciform shape with an impressive portico. The second church had a pipe organ installed in the early 20th century. Sadly, nothing is known of its specification or provenance. When the new cathedral building was completed in 1955, the pipe organ was not installed there, suggesting it may already have been unplayable by that time. If still existing, the current condition of the pipe organ and its whereabouts are unknown. The old church building was de-consecrated and altered slightly but is still in use today as a welfare centre.

The foundation stone of the third church, which is the present St John's Cathedral, was laid on 28 March, 1954. That year also saw the ordination of the First Bishop of Kuala Lumpur, Rev Father Dominic Vendargon. The new building was officially opened on 8 January 1955, replacing the second Church of St John the Evangelist. In August of 1955, this church became the See of the Bishop of Kuala Lumpur with Bishop Dominic Vendargon as the first local bishop of the newly created Diocese of Kuala Lumpur.  In 1962, this church was consecrated and its status elevated to that of a Cathedral with Rev Fr Edward Limat as the first Vicar General and Parish Priest. Thereafter the building became popularly known as St John’s Cathedral. St John’s Cathedral is today a whitewashed modern cathedral with twin spires, located close to the colonial heart of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It is the seat of the current Archbishop, Murphy Nicholas Xavier Pakiam.

The interior of St John’s Cathedral has an inscription in mosaic above the new altar which reads: ECCE AGNUS DEI (Behold the Lamb of God).  The stained glass windows which form a visually powerful backdrop to the altar were ordered from Paris and depict three Gospel scenes which feature the patron of the church, St John the Evangelist.

St John's Cathedral is on Jalan Gereja (Church Street) and located next to St. John's Institution, a school, known for its Grecian-Spanish architecture. The school derived its name from the original church and was set up by the Order of the Lasallian Brothers.

St John’s Cathedral is close to Bukit Nanas Convent School (Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus), the Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve and the Kuala Lumpur Tower. It is accessible from the Masjid Jamek LRT station and the Bukit Nanas Monorail station.

Kuala Lumpur St John's Cathedral

Kuala Lumpur St John's Cathedral

Specification of the organ was:

Great Swell

Information and history from Andrew Hwang.
Photographs from the internet.

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