St. Luke's Church, Ratnapura
St. Luke's Church, Ratnapura
Colombo Archdeaconry
Revd. S. Johnson

This church dedicated to and named after the great physician St, Luke, was consecrated on 25 October 1883, on the Octave of St. Luke’s feast, by His Lordship the Rt. Rev. Dr. Reginald Stephen Copleston with the Archdeacon the Ven. W.E. Matthew assisting. The priest in charge was the Rev. W. Herath.

There is evidence to show the existence of an Anglican congregation in Ratnapura even before the year 1883. This congregation which comprised of Dutch descendents and resident Sinhalese and Tamils has been ministered by colonial chaplains in English, Sinhalese and Tamil. There is also evidence to show that the Church was housed in the building now occupied by the Ratnapura Police before 1883.

The next priest in charge was the Rev. E.A. Copleston (1884-1889) later Bishop and then it was Rev. M.J Burrows (1889-1894). It was in his time, in the beginning of 1893 to be exact, that a night school was started to teach Sinhalese to English boys of the School and to teach English to the Sinhalese and Tamil adults of the area. Rev. F.W Mcdonnel (1894-1895) who came from Australia here succeeded Rev. Burrows. Rev W.S Riddlesdell took charge from 1895-1898. The 13 jubilee of the consecration of the Church was celebrated under his patronage on the 18 of October 1896 with a simple dedication service. It was on this day that the English boy’s school, the only one of its nature at the time in Sabaragamuwa Province, which was under the Government’s management, was handed over to the Church’s charge, only to be taken over by the Government again in 1961.

From 1927-1935, the Rev. Reginald Vincent Becketts De Silva was in charge of St. Luke’s Church. During his time the parish saw a vast building programme of Amazonian proportions in action. In 1931, he built St. Luke’s College hostel and the Burrows memorial Chapel of the Holy Wisdom attached. In 1933, a building housing a reading room and a kindergarten (now the College Office and classrooms) was built for St. Luke’s College and was blessed on 23 of October 1933. An extension to St. Luke’s hostel consisting of a dining hall for 60, and teachers quarters was built and blessed on the 1 April 1933.

The crowning glory of all these works was the extension of a mission Church in Hidellana. It was named the Church of the Epiphany and was consecrated on Epiphany Day in 1933, with a fitting ceremony including a service of consecration conducted by the Bishop of Colombo, a colourful procession of witness, a cultural show and a fireworks display, going into the night, before the Rev. Beckett De Silva left the parish to Christ Church Dehiwela. In August 1935, he saw the commissioning of a new dormitory of St. Luke’s hostel, which was blessed on the first of April of that year. He transformed a howling wilderness into what was known in the latter days as “St. Luke’s Hill,” a bungalow on top of which was used as a vicarage by succeeding clergy. This vicarage and the Church at Hidellana are no more the property of the Church.

The Rev. Felix A Dias Abeysinghe who was in charge of the Church from 1945-47 built the present Church Hall which he intended for and used as a mission house.

In 1970 St. Luke’s Hill was sold and a new place for the vicarage was purchased. It must be recorded with gratitude that late Mr. C Jayatilake generously gave his land at a concessionary rate, inspite of a greater offer from the Bank of Ceylon.

It was the Rev. E.J Gnanapragasam who built the new vicarage by the side of the Church which was blessed on the 30 November 1971. He also installed an illuminated cross on the Eastern Wall of the Church facing Ratnapura town

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Contact Details

Postal Address
St. Mark’s Church Yatiyantota, Sri Lanka.
0452 226 852

bishop of colombo rt revd dushantha rodrigo


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