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Minor Basilica of St. Anne


Nestled in the heart of Bukit Mertajam, Penang, Malaysia, stands the Minor Basilica of St. Anne, a Roman Catholic church of historical and architectural significance. The church, one of the esteemed parishes in the Diocese of Penang, was elevated to the status of a minor basilica on September 5, 2019, thereby strengthening its ties with the Church of Rome and the Pope.

The church was declared open by Mt Rev Adriano Bernardini DD, DPh, the former Apostolic Delegate in Malaysia. An auspicious event in the church's history, the consecration and dedication to St Anne, the mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary and grandmother of Jesus Christ, were performed by Rt Rev Antony Selvanayagam DD, the Emeritus Bishop on July 26, 2002.

The architecture of the Minor Basilica of St. Anne is an impressive blend of the traditional and the contemporary. The church is designed in the shape of a Greek cross with equal sides, facing south-southwest, and boasts an extended main entrance on the south wing that includes a sizable vestibule and porch. The design is an embodiment of inculturation, integrating local Malaysian architectural elements with the traditional design of Gothic arches. Thus, the timeless beauty of the Roman Catholic Church of the Gothic age is preserved and harmoniously blended with a distinctly Malaysian touch.

The church's foundation rests on an impressive 597 points, with piles stretching a combined length of 6,054 meters. The construction required a staggering 1,631 cubic meters of concrete, forming a total of 6,204 square meters of formwork. The church utilized 183 metric tonnes of steel bars in its construction. The interior of the church is marked by thirty-eight large columns, while the outer corridor is supported by sixty-six medium-sized columns holding up the arches.

The present church, a testament to faith and architectural prowess, was built under the guidance of Fr. Michael Cheah. The construction commenced towards the end of 1998 and reached completion in the middle of 2002.

Today, the Minor Basilica of St. Anne stands as a symbol of enduring faith and architectural grandeur. Its unique blend of traditional and contemporary design elements not only offers a serene place for worship but also serves as a testament to the harmonious blending of cultures. The church continues to attract visitors from around the world, offering a unique spiritual journey steeped in history, faith, and architectural beauty.

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