World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Thomas Cooray

His Eminence

Thomas Cooray
Cardinal Archbishop of Colombo (emeritus)
Archdiocese Colombo, Sri Lanka
Installed 26 July 1947
Term ended 02 September 1976
Predecessor Jean-Marie Masson, OMI
Successor Nicholas Fernando
Other posts Coadjutor Archbishop of Colombo and Titular Bishop of Preslavus (1945–1947)
Ordination 23 June 1929 (Priest)
Consecration 14 December 1945(Bishop)
Created Cardinal 22 February 1965
Rank Cardinal-Priest of Santi Nereo e Achilleo (emeritus)
Personal details
Born December 28, 1901
Negombo, Ceylon
Died 29 October 1988(1988-10-29) (aged 86)
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Buried Basilica of Our Lady of Lanka
Nationality Sri Lanka Sri Lankan
Denomination Roman Catholic Church

Thomas Benjamin Cooray, OMI (December 28, 1901 – October 29, 1988) was a Sri Lankan cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church who served as Archbishop of Colombo from 1947 to 1976, and was elevated to the cardinalate in 1965.


Thomas Cooray was born to a poor but religious family in Negombo, and attended St. Aloysius Seminary in Borella, and St. Joseph's College and University College in Colombo before going to Rome, where he studied at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum), obtaining a doctorate in philosophy summa cum laude. After entering the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, he was ordained to the priesthood on June 23, 1929. Finishing his Roman studies in 1931, he then did pastoral work in Colombo until 1945, whilst teaching at St. Joseph's College and serving as a university chaplain. He also became rector of the Oblate seminary in Sri Lanka.

On December 14, 1945, Cooray was appointed Coadjutor Archbishop of Colombo and Titular Archbishop of Preslavus by Pope Pius XII. He received his episcopal consecration on March 7, 1946 from Archbishop Leo Kierkels, with Bishops Edmund Peiris, OMI, and Bernardo Regno, OSB, serving as co-consecrators. Cooray succeeded the late Jean-Marie Masson, OMI, as Archbishop of Colombo on July 26, 1947, becoming the first local-born head of the see. During his tenure as Archbishop, he "favored a respectful dialogue with the Buddhists and with other Christians".[1] From 1962 to 1965, he attended the Second Vatican Council, at which he supported the Coetus Internationalis Patrum.[2]

Pope Paul VI created him Cardinal Priest of Santi Nereo e Achilleo in the consistory of February 22, 1965. Cooray, the first Sri Lankan member of the College of Cardinals, resigned as Colombo's archbishop on September 2, 1976, after a period of twenty-nine years. He was one of the cardinal electors who participated in the conclaves of August and October 1978, which selected Popes John Paul I and John Paul II respectively, and the first Sri Lankan to participate in the election of a Pope.

Whenever he came to his native town, he would visit his mother's grave.

Cooray died at age 86. He is buried in the crypt of the Basilica of Our Lady of Lanka, whose completion he oversaw.[3]

Styles of
Thomas Cooray
Reference style His Eminence
Spoken style Your Eminence
Informal style Cardinal
See Colombo (emeritus)


External links

  • Official Website of the Government of Sri Lanka
  • Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church
  • Catholic-Hierarchy
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Jean-Marie Masson, OMI
Archbishop of Colombo
Succeeded by
Nicholas Fernando
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.