Holy Emmanuel Church, Moratuwa
Holy Emmanuel Church, Moratuwa
Date of Consecration
1860 - 12 - 27
Galle Archdeaconry
Revd. Malinda De Mel

The history of the Anglican Church in Moratuwa dates from 1799. At the site of the present General Cemetery behind Holy Emmanuel Church, stood an old Dutch building for 140 years since 1675.

In addition, to being used as a school, divine services were held in the building from 1799 until it was demolished in 1815 to be replaced by the first Anglican Church built in Moratuwa at the expense of the Government and the congregation.

This Church was built under the patronage of Governor Sir Robert Brownrigg, who contributed his share towards the construction of the Church. A significant feature of the Anglican Church in Moratuwa was that from the very inception divine services and all other Church activities were conducted in Sinhala.

On 4 January 1857, gate Mudliyar Jeronis De Soysa appealed to the Bishop of Colombo, James Chapman, to seek the Governor’s sanction for demolishing the old Church known as “Brownrigg Palliya”, for the construction of a new edifice on the allotment of land one and a half acres in extent adjoin the then cemetery and to set apart such land and building as a gift in perpetuity to the Church of England. The only condition that was attached to this most liberal and praiseworthy proposal was the use of materials of the existing building. He himself would provide a temporary structure for divine worship until the completion of the new Church.

Jeronis De Soysa’s application was recommended by the Bishop and the Governor Sir. Henry Ward by his letter dated 31 January 1857, addressed to the Bishop, conveyed his sanction for the above proposal.

On 27 December 1857, Bishop James Chapman laid the cornerstone of Holy Emmanuel Church, which when completed cost over sterling pounds 5338-5s (Rs. 80,000). The funds for this edifice were contributed mainly by Jeronis De Soysa and his brother Susew De Soysa. By Deed No. 11956 dated 18 December 1860, Gate Mudliyar Jeronis De Soysa gave over to Dr. James Chapman, the first Bishop of Colombo, the land and the Church built thereon.

On 27 December 1860, Holy Emmanuel Church was consecrated by Bishop Chapman. The Governor and Lady McCarthy together with a number of Europeans assembled in the Church before the consecration. The Church was filled with the most distinguished congregation from the immediate vicinity. At 2.00p.m. The Bishop attended by his clergy and choristers from the Cathedral walked in solemn procession from the Galle Road to the Church. The service was conducted both in English and in Sinhala and the sermon was delivered by the Rev. S.W Dias in Sinhala. The Cathedral Choir without the aid of any musical instrument was in attendance. Soon after the Bishop had taken his seat, the service commenced at the instance of the Rev. Cornelius Senanayake. The consecration of Holy Emmanuel Church was conducted by the Bishop, assisted by the Rev. Cornelius Senanayake, B. Bailey, J. De Silva, F. De Mel, Abraham Mendis and the Rev. S.W. Dias who also assisted in the Service which was conducted in Sinhala.

At the conclusion of the service, His Excellency and Lady McCarthy along with the other dignitaries present on the occasion were received by Mr. and Mrs. Jeronis De Soysa at their residence. The proceedings closed with a presentation of an address to the worthy founder by the residents of Moratuwa.

Name From To Remarks
Rev. Abraham Mendis 1861 1883  
Rt. Rev. E. A. Copleston 1883 1889  
Rev. Johannes De Silva 1889 1907  
Canon Jacob Mendis 1908 1940  
Ven. C. H. W. De Soysa 1941 1948  
Rev. B. M. Wickramanayaka 1949 1956  
Rev. F. R. E. Mendis 1957 1958  
Rev. E. G. Misso 1959 1963  
Rev. Alik Dias Abeysinghe 1964 1965  
Rev. N. D. Amaratunga 1966 1970  
Rev. Bernard J. Perera 1971 1976  
Rev. Roger A. Herfth 1977 1978  
Rev. Edison T. L. Mendis 1979 1982  
Rev. Lakshman S. Peiris 1983 1986  
Rev. Lloyd Weerasuriya 1987 1990  
Rev. Devapriya De Silva 1991 1994  
Rev. Lenin John Marshall 1995 1997  
Rev. Melvin O. De Silva 1998 2002  
Rev. Sunil Ferdinando 2003 2006  
Rev. Nilanga Gunasekara 2007 2010  
Rev. Keerthisiri Fernando 2011 to date  

Contact Details

Postal Address
Holy Emmanuel Church Holy Emmanuel Church Rd Moratuwa., Sri Lanka.
0112 645 447
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bishop of colombo rt revd dushantha rodrigo


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