St. Mary's Cathedral, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

st. Mary's cathedral in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
St. Mary's Cathedral, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 

St. Mary's, a symbol of Malaysia's religious diversity and tolerance

St. Mary's Cathedral in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia isn't the grandest cathedral in the world, but the small whitewashed church, looking for all the world like the parish church of some small English country town, holds an important place in Malaysian Anglicanism.

What is now Malaysia was, for nearly 200 years, a colony of the United Kingdom. Even after gaining independence in 1963, quite a bit of English culture remained, particular in the capital, Kuala Lumpur. St. Mary's Cathedral sits in a patch of manicured greenery in Merdeka Square, the cultural heart of Kuala Lumpur. Just down the road is the Masjid Negara, the National Moque of Malaysia. Though it is officially a Muslim country, Malaysia is incredibly religiously diverse and multi-confessional.

interior of st. mary's cathedral, kuala lumpur, malayisa
interior of St. Mary' Cathedral in Kuala Lumpur 
Besides being the seat of the Anglican Diocese of Western Malaysia, St. Mary's Cathedral in Kuala Lumpur is also the current seat of the Archbishop of Southeast Asia. The Church of the Province of Southeast Asia, which is divided into four semi-autonomous diocese, is the provincial Anglican church that serves the region of Southeast Asia, and is in full communion with Canterbury.

St. Mary's Cathedral is still the center of Anglican spiritual life in Kuala Lumpur. The current building was constructed in 1895 in the Early English Gothic architectural style.

stained glass in St. Mary's Cathedral in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
stained glass behind the altar of St. Mary's Cathedral

One prominent and impressive feature is the cathedral's pipe organ. The organ was built by Henry Willis, the renowned organ maker who also constructed the pipe organ at both St. Paul's Cathedral in London and the Royal Albert Hall!

Yes, St. Mary's Cathedral is small. It's not as impressive as the huge Gothic St. Andrew's Cathedral in Singapore, but the size of the building isn't what makes a place special. St. Mary's is quiet and peaceful, and despite its size, plays a very important role in Malaysian Anglicanism, Kuala Lumpur expat life, and Southeast Asian Christianity. It's a beautiful old building that has weathered decade of complicated Malaysian politics and history, and stands as a testament to the peaceful multiconfessionalism of Malaysian culture.

How to get to St. Mary's Cathedral in Kuala Lumpur

St. Mary's is centrally located in Merdeka Square near Masjid Jamek and within walking distance to the Malaysian National Mosque. It's easily reached by Masjid Jamek Station.

Jalan Raja, City Centre, 50050 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia