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Sri Lankan Church renovated after 13 years of civil war

Bishop Justin Bernard Gnanapragasam opens the renovated St. Antony’s Church at Urani Palali, Jaffna Diocese, Sri Lanka, on May 30, 2022. (RVA photo)

Bishop Justin Bernard Gnanapragasam of Jaffna, Sri Lanka, blessed and inaugurated the renovated St. Antony’s Church at Urani Palali on May 30, after 13 years it was destroyed in a civil war.

During Sri Lanka's war with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), the church was destroyed by the government forces.

It was declared a high-security zone and they were prohibited from celebrating any Christian spiritual activities.

Father T.E. Thevarajan, the parish priest, led the rebuilding effort with the help of many people from all over.

The opening ceremony was organized by Father Thevarajan and 46 children received their Sacrament of Confirmation.

Father A. Anton Stephen, director of the communication center for the Jaffna Diocese, said this church is built like the legendary Phoenix bird that rose from the ashes. 

People are standing in front of the demolished church with the parish priest. (RVA photo)

Bishop Gnanapragasam said that the church's roof had been damaged by the government military after the end of the war in 2009, but after a few years, with the permission of the government, it was repaired to fulfill the spiritual needs of the Christian people.

However, in 2012, the church was destroyed by the government, which was deeply disappointing to the people, as well as to me, said the prelate.  

According to the Bishop, "This calamity created a new thirst among people to build a church for St. Antony to help develop their spiritual activities, and after 13 years of work a parish church was finally built with love and unity."

RVA interviewed Father T.E. Thevarajan of St. Antony’s Church at Urani Palali. He said many people were relocated in 1990 and socialized with different cultures. Despite all obstacles and displacement struggles, people expected their church to be built on their land. 

The renovated St. Antony’s Church at Urani Palali (Photo by RVA News)

Father T.E. Thevarajan said, "People were consoled after building up the church and preparing for the sacrament of confirmation by the Bishop Justin Bernard Gnanapragasam; however, they are still waiting for the Sri Lankan army force to relive their land free and these people desire their freedom for the next generation."

It was built in 1848 and will celebrate its 175th anniversary shortly. 

The parish church is surrounded by several churches including Our Lady of Holy Rosary church in Mulavai and Our Lady Good Health church in Valluvarpuram. 

The parish has approximately 130 families and more than 25 priests serve as parish priests. 

Currently, Father T.E. Thevarajan is serving as parish priest and Father J.A. Newman is serving as co-pastor, both of whom are leading their parish with love and care. - A. Anton Stephen 


Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.”  Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.


Daya , Jun 16 2022 - 11:39am
Thank you very much for your kind information sharing with the entire world, we the church of Urany - Kankesanthurai express our sincere thanks to this.

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please reply.

God bless you.