St. John the Baptist Church, Chundikuli
- Date of Consecration
- 1862 - 08 -14
- Jaffna Archdeaconry
- Revd. S. Jebachelvan
The Church at Chundikuli stands on the hallowed site of an old Portugese Church built in or around 1634 and which is reported to have had a congregation of over 2000 adults and 400 children.
When the Dutch captured Sri Lanka they made it a Dutch Reformed Church, and therafter under the British took over in 1796, the church became an Anglican Church. In the that period regular divine services were held under the leadership of a devoted layman named Christian David, who was designated as ‘ State Preacher of the Gospel.”
Christian David retired in 1841. Later the Church fell into disrepair. The Government agent of Jaffna at the time P.A. Dyke proposed the demolition of the old Church and the construction of a new Church building in its place. But the congregation objected to the proposal on the ground that the near and dear ones had been buried inside the Church. The question of demolishing the old Church was revived in 1857 by which time public feeling had undergone a change. Mr. Dyke then proceeded with his proposal to construct a new Church in Gothic Style on another site in the same premises. The remains of those buried in the Church were exhumed and re-interred in St. John’s burial ground Chundikuli.
Work on the new Church was proceeded with and it was completed in 1859 and named after St. John the Baptist. It was consecrated on 14 August 1862.
It is amazing how this massive and beautiful Church building was constructed, how the massive timber trusses were lifted up and placed in position without the aid of cranes which are available to the modern engineer, how the heavy Church bell imported from England bearing the imprint 1859 was mounted on the belfry and how the deeply steep roof was erected and covered with slates, which have since been replaced with Calicut tiles.
As we enter the Church, we see the beautiful altar with a stained glass window depicting the ascension of Christ. The Church has a pulpit in the shape of a boat. The Church itself is well finished with pews, chairs, lights and fans. There is a transept on the opposite side of the vestry which is used as a side Chapel.
The parish Hall was known as Figg Hall earlier and it belonged to St. John’s College. St. John’s handed it over to the Church for all the activities of the Church.
- Postal Address
- St. John’s the Baptist Church, Main street, Chundikuli, Jaffna , Sri Lanka