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Church of Ceylon

Church of Ceylon
Primate The Most Rev. Justin Welby
Headquarters Colombo, Sri Lanka
Territory Sri Lanka
Members 30,000
Website The Church of Ceylon (Anglican Communion)
St. Paul's Church (Milagiriya) in the diocese of Colombo

The Church of Ceylon is the Anglican Church in Sri Lanka, as an extra-provincial diocese of the Archbishop of Canterbury. It was established with the appointment of its first Bishop, James Chapman in 1845 as the Bishop of Colombo. Until 1950 it consisted only of the Diocese of Colombo but a second diocese was established at Kurunegala in that year.


  • The Dioceses of Colombo and Kurunegala 1
  • Hymn for Ceylon 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4
  • Publications 5
  • External links 6

The Dioceses of Colombo and Kurunegala

The first services were held on the island in 1796 and missionaries were sent to Ceylon to begin work in 1818.[1] The Church now has two dioceses, one in Colombo (covering the Western, Southern, Eastern, Northern and Uva provinces and Ratnapura, Nuwara Eliya and Puttalam districts) and the other in Kurunegala (covering the North-Central province and Kurunegala, Kandy, Matale and Kegalla, Anuradapura, Polonnaruwa, districts). The Diocese of Colombo was founded in 1845 and the Diocese of Kurunegala in 1950.[1]

The Bishop of Calcutta was the Metropolitan Bishop of India and Ceylon from 10 October 1835. In 1930 Ceylon was included in the Church of India, Burma and Ceylon (from 1948 the Church of India, Pakistan, Burma, and Ceylon) until 1970. In 1970, the Church of the Province of Myanmar, the Church of Ceylon and the Church of Pakistan were separated from the province of Calcutta.

Recently, there is a movement for the amalgamation of traditional Protestant Churches (including Church of Ceylon, Methodist Church, Lanka Baptist Sangamaya, Salvation Army, Presbyterian Church of Sri Lanka and the Dutch Reformed Church in Sri Lanka) into one body, namely the Church of Sri Lanka, for which a phased road map has been accepted and the process hoped to be started in 2008.

The Bishop of Colombo, Rt. Rev. Diloraj R. Canagasabey has under him four Archdeacons for Colombo, Galle, Jaffna and Upcountry and East. The Bishop of Kurunegala, Rt. Rev. Gregory Shantha Kumar Francis has only a single Archdeacon in Kandy.

The Church of Ceylon with around 30,000 members, is the second largest group of Christians in Sri Lanka, the Roman Catholic Church with 1,600,000 being the largest.

Hymn for Ceylon

In the early 20th century an Anglican missionary, Reverend W. S. Senior arrived in Ceylon to work with the Church Missionary Society. He was Vice-Principal of Trinity College, Kandy for many years and spent three decades in the country.[2] Reverend W. S. Senior wrote the 'Hymn for Ceylon,' sung to this day in churches on the island. The music for parts of this hymn was composed in 1950 by the leading Sri Lankan folk musician Deva Suriya Sena.[3]

See also


  1. ^ a b "History - Church of Ceylon (Anglican Communion)". Retrieved 2009-08-02. 
  2. ^ Herby Jayasuriya. "Two different views of Ceylon by two English Missionaries". Daily News, Sri Lanka. Retrieved 2009-08-02. 
  3. ^ Hymn for Ceylon


  • One hundred years in Ceylon, or, The centenary volume of the Church Missionary Society in Ceylon, 1818-1918 (1922) Author: Balding, John William Madras: Printed at the Diocesan Press.
  • The Church of Ceylon - her faith and mission Published in 1945, Printed at the Daily News Press by Bernard de Silva for the Church of Ceylon.
  • The Church of Ceylon: A history, 1945-1995 Editor: Medis, Frederick Published for the Diocese of Colombo.

External links

  • Diocese of Colombo
  • The Church of Ceylon (Anglican Communion)
  • Anglican Church of Ceylon News
  • Worship Resources including a Prayer for Sri Lanka written by Metropolitan Lakdasa de Mel
  • The Church of Ceylon - World Council of Churches website
  • A photo selection of Parishes of the Church of Ceylon
  • A Sinhalese Hymn filmed at Holy Emmanuel Church, Moratuwa - Anglican Church of Ceylon on YouTube
  • The Hymn for Ceylon - Trilingual (Anglican Communion)
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