- Date of Consecration
- 1853 - 03 - 10 (English & Sinhala Congregation)
- Colombo Archdeaconry
- Vicar (English & Tamil Congregations)
- Revd. Christie Joshep
At a CMS meeting in 1799, it was decided to send missionaries to the colony of Ceylon. Rev. George Pettit was one such CMS missionary, who arrived in Ceylon in 1850 and was the first Vicar of Christ Church. The Church was built with 960 sterling pounds contributed from CMS London and generous donations from the local population. W.A. Turnstall, a British architect, prepared the original design free of charge. The initial structure was small, and built with local materials mainly of cabook. The foundation stone was laid on 21 January, 1853 by the Bishop of Colombo, the Rt. Rev. James Chapman and functioned from the 13th October, 1853. The first Sunday services were held in English, Sinhala and Tamil. The church was known at the time as the CMS Cathedral.
It was during Rev. A.E Dibbens tenure as vicar that the original church building was replaced with the present one, due to the collapse of the west wall in 1897. The death of the vicar was due to the collapse of the building.
The new church-127 ft x 88 ft-was built with brick in Gothic style at a cost of Rs 34,150. The foundation stone was laid on 14 June 1898 by Rt. Rev. R.S Copleston, Bishop of Colombo. The church has undergone many changes over the years, but its architecture and internal layout remain unaltered. Its construction in early Gothic style features a pointed arch, nave, arcade and king post roof bracing into a succession of flying buttresses. The emphatic verticality of both elements and structure soar upwards as if defying the strength of gravity. The windows were progressively enlarged to provide a larger area for stained glass, which has been used in the sidewalks of the sanctuary as well as the intricately set east window behind the altar and the Rose window above the main entrance. The floor is mosaic, placed in a repeating geometrical pattern. The interior is refined with timber carvings on pews and the stands are engraved with intricate foliage traceries.
The church received electricity in 1914. The building of the belfry began in 1918 was dedicated on 30th June 1919. It is 76 feet high and the bell, weighing one ton, was donated in memory of Lt. W. Warren by his widow. The cross on top of the church was placed in 1954. The church lost its adjoining school to the Government in 1961. In 1978, 34 perches were given to the Duplication Road expansion project and in 1981, 40 perches were sold to the Hatton National Bank.
The church’s colonial legacy, can still be seen in the marble plaques to Ceylon’s colonial rulers on the walls. One plaque over the Baptism altar is dedicated to 15 year old soldier Cedric Lam Yung Hun Paktsun, who drowned in the Beira Lake while saving a fellow scout. He had been baptized in the church three days earlier.
The church’s CMS links are still evident. The Vicar of Christ Church remains the Chaplain of Ladies College formerly CMS Ladies College) Colombo, while among the enterprises Christ Church administers/ assists with donations are the House of Joy, Talawa, and the Denipitiya Medical Mission.
- Postal Address
- Christ Church Galle Face,
54, Sir Mohamed Macan Makar Mawatha, Colombo, Sri Lanka.
- 0112 32 51 66 (English Congragation)
0112 42 28 78 (Tamil Congragation)