Thinking Anglicans

News from Sri Lanka

The Anglican Communion News Service reports: Bishop’s defiance as terrorists kill more than 200 in Easter Day church bombings

The Presiding Bishop of the Anglican Church of Ceylon, Dhiloraj Canagasabey, has defiantly expressed his faith in God as terrorists attacked Churches in Sri Lanka. On Sunday afternoon, London time, the death-toll stood at 207, with hundreds more injured. “If God gives me permission to live, I shall live. If he gives me permission to die, I shall die,” he told the Archbishop of Canterbury in a telephone call this morning.

Bishop Dhiloraj was just beginning the Prayer of Consecration during an Easter Eucharist service at the Cathedral of Christ the Living Saviour at Cinnamon Gardens, Colombo, when the police arrived and warned him to leave. “You must come with us, they are about to come and kill you.” But the bishop refused to move until he had finished the Prayer of Consecration.

A total of eight explosions have occurred in Sri Lanka today. Three of them targeted Roman Catholic churches: St Anthony’s Shrine in Kochchikade, St Sebastian’s Church in Negombo and Zion Church in Batticaloa. Three more targeted hotels in Colombo: the Cinnamon Grand, the Shangri-La Hotel, and the Kingsbury. Another bomb exploded near Dehiwala Zoo in Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia. An eighth explosion occurred when a suspected detonated a bomb as police raided a house in Mahawila Gardens, Dematagoda…

USPG has published this: Joint Statement by the Bishops of Colombo and Kurunugala of the Church of Ceylon

We are terribly shocked and deeply saddened by the barbarous acts of violence brought on innocent worshippers, children, women and men at Easter Sunday services at St. Anthony’s Church, Kochchikade, St. Sebastien’s Church, Negombo and Zion Church, Batticaloa., as well as on several hotels in Colombo targeting visitors to our country.

The Church of Ceylon unreservedly condemns these cowardly and cruel acts of terrorism and we offer our deep condolences to the families and friends of the over one hundred persons who have lost their lives and those who have been hurt. We wish all those who have been injured full recovery. We pray for them and their families that God’s comforting presence will continue to be with them through this tragic experience.

We call on the government to institute quick action to investigate thoroughly these incidents and to bring the perpetrators to justice., to ensure the safety of places of religious worship and to prevent any individuals or group taking the law into their hands or provoking acts of intimidation or violence against any community or group.

We call on all Sri Lankans to be mindful at this time and to act with patience and understanding. We ask for the continued support of all security and emergency services in ensuring public peace and in providing care for the affected the motives of those twisted and warped minds who planned and executed such appalling acts could very well be to destabilize the country and to cause damage to the unity and harmony of our nation.

We pray that these persons, whoever they may be, will be awakened to the awfulness of their crime.

We pray we will be able to journey through this dark phase of our country.  May the Peace of the Risen Christ who on the cross prayed for forgiveness be with you all.

Rt. Revd. Dhiloraj Canagasabey
Bishop of Colombo

Rt. Revd. Keerthisiri Fernando
Bishop of Kurunegala

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John Wallace
John Wallace
5 years ago

And still the C of E and other parts of the Anglican Communion do internal navel – gazing about secondary matters!!Where is the stand of the Church in Nigeria against kidnapping and murder? Let us pray for our brave brothers and sisters in dangerous parts of the world and work to influence governmetst and the UN to make a collective response to terrorism and bigotry. My earnest prayer is that the Anglican Communion could exorcise sex from its agenda and concentrate on the Gospel which alone can bring peace and security.

Savi Hensman
Savi Hensman
Reply to  John Wallace
5 years ago

While what has just happened in Sri Lanka is a reminder of the range of issues facing churches in the Anglican Communion, it also highlights the importance of making sure that religion is not used as a cloak for stirring up anti-minority hostility. If Christians are to be persecuted, it should surely be because we stand up for Christ and against hatred of every kind. Bishop Duleep’s sermon at the 2008 Lambeth Conference (,-the-bishop-of-colombo.aspx) deserves to be re-read.

Savi Hensman
Savi Hensman
5 years ago

A strong and constructive response from the bishops. Dhiloraj Canagasabey has shown considerable courage in recent years, when democratic values in Sri Lanka have been under threat, as did his predecessor, Duleep de Chickera.

Duncan Dormor
Reply to  Savi Hensman
5 years ago

Absolutely Savi. It is humbling to witness the sheer personal courage (and wisdom) of many of our sisters and brothers and many church leaders like Bishop Dhiloraj in various parts of the world including Sri Lanka, Philippines, Pakistan… we have much to learn and admire.

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