First Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church in Malaysia has passed away, aged 88


His Eminence Anthony Soter Cardinal Fernandez
22nd April 1932 – 28th October 2020
Archbishop Emeritus of Kuala Lumpur Archdiocese

It is with profound sorrow that the Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur announces the demise of Malaysia’s first cardinal, His Eminence Anthony Soter Cardinal Fernandez, who has peacefully passed on Wed, 28th October at 12.35pm at St Francis Xavier Home for the Elderly in Cheras.

His Eminence, who was the second archbishop of the Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur, was diagnosed with tongue cancer in November 2019 and had been receiving palliative care at the St Francis Xavier Home, where he had been residing since 2013.

Details of the Wake are as follows:
Date: Thursday, 29th Oct
Venue: Community Centre, Cathedral of St John, Jalan Bukit Nanas, Kuala Lumpur
Time: 12 pm to 9 pm

Date: Friday, 30th Oct
Venue: Cathedral of St John, Jalan Bukit Nanas, Kuala Lumpur
Time: 8 am to 9 pm

Each visitor is allowed a maximum of 15 minutes for viewing, paying respects and personal prayer. Due to CMCO restrictions, the number of visitors at any single time should not exceed 20 pax. If you wish to pay your respects, kindly complete the online pre-booking form at

Funeral Mass
Date: Sat, 31st Oct
Time: 10.30am

Due to restrictions under the CMCO, the Funeral Mass will not be opened to the public but will be live streamed from ArchKL YouTube Channel –

On behalf of the Archdiocese, His Grace Most Reverend Julian Leow, the Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur would like to express a special thank you to the Little Sisters of the Poor, Archdiocesan staff, clergy companions, caregivers, members of his private medical team, doctors and staff of Assunta Hospital and University Malaya Medical Centre for their care and compassion during His Eminence’s ailment.

We invite the clergy, religious and faithful to remember His Eminence Anthony Soter Cardinal Fernandez in your Masses and prayers.

Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him.

May the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

Rev. Fr Michael Chua
Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur

Condolence Messages

Messages addressed to the Most Rev. Julian Leow Kim Beng, Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur.

Condolence Message from the Holy Father Pope Francis

Having learned with sadness the death of Cardinal Anthony Soter Fernandez, I extend my heartfelt condolences to you and to the clergy, religious and laity of the Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur. With gratitude for Cardinal Fernandez’s faithful witness to the Gospel, his generous service to the Church in Malaysia and his longstanding commitment to the promotion of ecumenism and interreligious dialogue, I willingly join you in praying for his eternal rest. To all who mourn the late Cardinal’s passing in the sure hope of the Resurrection I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of consolation and peace in Jesus Christ our Saviour.


Condolence Message from Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State Of His Holiness

Please accept my condolences at the passing of Cardinal Anthony Soter Fernandez and the assurance of my prayers for the repose of his soul.

Cardinal Pietro Parolin

Condolence Message from Msgr. Marco Sprizzi, Chargé d’Affaires, Apostolic Nuncianture Malaysia

Your Grace. I too join in the prayerful act of thanksgiving to the Lord for having given to the Church in Malaysia a shining example of true christian and priestly life through the entire existence of Cardinal Soter Fernandez, praying for him to be now welcomed in the eternal joy of heaven.

Monsignor Marco Sprizzi

Message addressed to the Most Rev. Willam Goh Seng Chye, Secretary General of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei.

Condolence Message from Bishop Matthias RI Iong-hoon, President, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Korea

Your Excellency.
On behalf of all the Korean bishops, I would like to express my deepest grief over the passing of His Eminence Anthony Cardinal Soter Fernandez, Archbishop Emeritus of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
It would be appreciated if you could forward our heartfelt condolences to those beloved of Cardinal Soter and all the faithful of Malaysia.
We owe him a lot for all his dedicated service in the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC) for many years. Please be assured that we, Korean Bishops, remember His Eminence Anthony Cardinal Soter Fernandez as one of the exemplary leaders in Asia.
We will pray that the Lord may grant him an eternal peace and mercy. With my best wishes and prayers.

Bishop Matthias RI Iong-hoon

Message addressed to the Most Rev. Sebastian Francis, President of CBCMSB.

Condolence Message from Cardinal Charles Maung Bo., SDB President, Federation of Asian Bishops Conferences (FABC)

Peace of Christ. Just now we received the sad message about the heavenly pilgrimage of our most beloved Cardinal Anthony Soter Fernandez, the first Malaysian prelate to be honored with Cardinal hat. In his death, the Church has lost an illustrious son of Asia.
We grieve today with the Catholics of Malaysia, as they bid farewell their warm and affectionate church leader. His Eminence followed the great example of the Good Shepherd by knowing his flock intimately, infusing pastoral concern into his long mission.
He was ordained as a priest on 10 December 1966. He was made Bishop and served the Diocese of Penang, from February 1978, until his transfer to Kuala Lumpur. He also served as president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei from 1987—1990 and 2000—2003. He was created a cardinal by Pope Francis in the consistory on 19 November 2016, and is the first Malaysian to be made a cardinal.
FABC notes with gratitude his significant contribution to the Church in Malaysia and Asia. His memory is one of a considerate and compassionate pastor, investing his energy in the deepening of the faith of the people, building systems and processes that promoted a church affirming the Vatican ll concept of people of God.
He is mourned today by thousands. This is also moment of gratitude to God for the great gift of such a holy prelate, who walked among as the Gospel in Action.
Praying for his eternal rest, Your Brother in Faith.

Cardinal Charles Maung Bo., SDB


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