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Built between 1869 and 1870, the Church of Saints Peter and Paul is more than a 150 years old. IMAGES: NG KAI

National Monuments Of Singapore: Church Of Saints Peter And Paul

What is a National Monument? Who gazettes them? How many national monuments are there in Singapore? To date, the Preservation of Sites and Monuments, a division of National Heritage Board, has identified and gazetted 75 buildings, structures and sites of national significance as an integral part of Singapore’s built heritage.

And we're here to tell you all about them - one National Monument at a time!

You've probably passed by or stepped into more than a few of them without realising they were National Monuments: Al-Abrar Mosque, Asian Civilisations Museum, the Civilian War Memorial, Saint Andrew's Cathedral, the Esplanade Park Memorials, Fort Siloso on Sentosa - no need to plan an itinerary for friends visiting from overseas; just show them this article ✌️

In this edition, we spotlight the second oldest Catholic church on our little Red Dot, the Church of Saints Peter and Paul.

📍 Location

The Church of Saints Peter and Paul was the 49th building to be gazetted as a National Monument. Located near other National Monuments such as Maghain Aboth Synagogue, Saint Joseph's Church, and Cathedral of the Good Shepherd, the MRT stations nearest to the Church of Saints Peter and Paul are Bras Basah, Bencoolen and Bugis.

📅 Significant dates

Dates built:

  • 1869-1870: The Church of Saints Peter and Paul was constructed
  • 1891-1892: Three marble altars, a new transept (the part that crosses the nave at right angles to create the two arms of a cross) and sacristy (a room where religious items and vestments are kept) were added
  • 1910-1911: The entrance porch was built, and the choir loft expanded


  • 1969-1970: A major renovation of the church was completed in time for its centenary celebrations
  • 2014-2016: The church underwent extensive renovations

Date gazetted: 10 Feb 2003

📜 History

Also known as Queen Street Church, the Church of Saints Peter and Paul is historically associated with the growth of the Chinese Catholic community in Singapore.

In the 1830s, a small chapel was erected at Bras Basah Road, on the site of the former Saint Joseph’s Institution (currently the Singapore Art Museum) to serve the religious needs of the Chinese Catholic community. The chapel soon proved too small for the growing number of worshippers. When the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd opened nearby in 1847, the chapel’s Chinese congregation joined worshippers there.

Subsequently, with the growing needs of various linguistic groups, Father Pierre Paris (who was then overseeing the Chinese and Indian Catholics) made plans to build a new church. Construction of the Church of Saints Peter and Paul began in 1869 and was completed in 1870.

The church was named after Saint Peter (the leading apostle of Christ) and Saint Paul of Tarsus (known for his conversion to Christianity while travelling to Damascus).


In 1883, Father Paris purchased and installed three bronze bells in the belfry. Unfortunately, he passed away on 28 May that same year before he could witness the blessing of the bells. He was buried in the central aisle of the church. His successor, Reverend Father Ludovic J. Galmel, MEP (short for "Société des Missions Etrangères de Paris" or "Society of Foreign Missions of Paris", a Catholic missionary organisation), finished the work on the spire and built a presbytery (the part of a church reserved for the officiating clergy) to house the clergy.

Apart from attending to the spiritual needs of the worshippers, the church also played an active role in the education of local children and youth. Reverend Father Edouard Becheras, MEP, who became the parish priest of the Church of Saints Peter and Paul in 1935, founded the Sino-English Catholic School (Catholic High School today) next to the church in 1937.

In his previous appointment as the parish priest of the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary; in Hougang, Father Becheras had also revived the then-defunct Holy Innocents’ School (Holy Innocents’ High School today). He was one of the first educators in Singapore who promoted the concept and importance of a bilingual education.


📐 Design and architecture

The Church of Saints Peter and Paul was designed in the Neo-Gothic style, characterised by the use of stained-glass windows, pointed arches, and a barrel vault (an architectural construction that allows the church to enjoy high ceilings).


Its frontal façade boasts a rose window flanked by the statues of the church’s patron saints – Saint Peter holding a set of keys, and Saint Paul with a sword in his hand.


Eight Roman columns mark out the porch, which features lancet (lance-shaped) arches decorated with metal tracery work. Above the main entrance is the belfry with an ornate cross mounted at the top. Within the square belfry are three bronze bells installed by Father Paris that are still in use today. 


Inside the church, the stained glass windows lining the sanctuary wall were made in France and installed around 1870. The glass panels feature, among other figures, the patron saints Peter and Paul, and Saint Joseph.


Large windows and doors lining the walls of the church ensured that the church was well-ventilated.

🕖 Opening hours

Regular visiting hours are from 9.30am to 7.30pm on weekdays, 9am to 5pm on Saturdays, and 9am to 12pm on Sundays.

🎟️ Admission

Entry is free. Find out more here.

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