SinhalaSriLanka

Old Church Buildings in Negombo

It makes remembrance of you

“Peter you are petros. I would build my congregation on this” Jesus said to fisherman. “Saul does not me” said to a rich prosperous man. They two are very much different in their behavior and standards but both became Jesus disciples. They were selected to proclaim the good news. This church is dedicated to these two honored persons. It is complete 125 years and it is like rock standing from all these days promoted faith many people. All are delighted in the serine it has been doing.

In 1855 – 1870 there were not a mars in every Sunday. They had prayer meetings, some other religious activities were held with a son Christian was a talk tale. The reason was there only one priest arranged 15 mile radios In 1870s. Small hall was erected. In 1900 there were 14 churches in Hon. Father Don Peter’s time. All the management was done by Katunayaka church. When the time passed it became a parish in 1918 in father A.M.D. Jayamanna ‘s time with the blessings of Hon. Rev. Kudel back this building put a permanent foundation. After Hon. Richard, Hon. Rev. Deve, Hon. Rev. Weerakagoda, Hon Rev. Joachine with their almost courage and with the voluntary support they had started building a permanent building The Fathers who were Hon. Arc. Rev. Nicholas Marcus, Deshigo, Fabion, David Soys Devilo after that Joseph Cabral were appointed a golden era was born in this time all the defects were computed the last lite was kept in the days of the fathers. Manieel Aponsu, Severinues, Kupel, H.D Anthony, Siril Anthony in these days it was a very enthusiasm time.

All the work was completed in Rev. Sarath Iddamalgoda, Hugo Palihawadana, Christopher Ruban Peris time tower for the bell and Assembly Hall were added. Father Hugo Palihawadana was conducting the mars in parishes. Now parish priest is Hon. Jude Samantha. Under him, while watching renovating the hall. Repairing the mission home building a wall around the cemetery a new statue erected. He had an opportunity to participate in the 125 Jubilee of this church. He arranged many activities of the Jubilee. There was a three week holiday reconciling the conflict between families.

Jesus shored us a good example pardoned the Peter who dinged the friendship with Jesus and the Saul Who persecuted the faithful servants by these? Our king lord will pardon people who does groves sins. We must always be ready to reform ourselves. In this Jubilee we can gain his approval may all you receive blessings through Paul and Peter.

A Little from the History of the Church

There were several churches belonged to Katunayaka parish till from 1930 – 1948. Those were Amandoluwa, Bandarawela, Kotarupa and Katunayaka St. Sebastian Church. Hon. Rev. Due and Hon. Rev. Vinsent Weerakkody were working as parish priests. Later Hon. Rev. Joachim appointed to Katunayaka parish.

In his tenure of service some building was started. The sand was carried by rafter through lagoon. From there people carried the sand to the premises in the time of Hon. Rev. Jaachim Fernando. some work of the building had done. After he left Hon. Rev. Moses was appointed. In the days of Rev. Fabian Fernando foundation laid in front of the church in the time of Joachim, Moses and Fabian Fernando. There were assisting priest. Hon. Rev. Nicolos Perera, Dnarmaratne, David Zoyas, Jery Abesekara, Sebastian, Joseph, Stephen, Desigo are the priest who were assisting in the parish.

Hon. Rev. Fabion transferred. Then Hon. Rev. Jeruwel appointed as the parish priest the parish of Katunayaka and Seeduwa after Hon. Rev. Jervvel. Left a Rev. served as assistant appointed as the parish priest Hon. Rev. David Soysa in 1949 January after Hon. Rev. Dedlaw and Joseph H. Cabral were appointed.

Hon. Rev. Cabral made some effort to complete the church.The arch bishop Rev.Dr. Benjamin Kuoray blessed the church on the 20. 12. 1958. Then Hon. Rev. Victor Cupel, Hon. Rev. Manuel Aponsu, Hon. Rev. Severinus Fernando, Hon. Rev. Anthony Siril, Hon. Rev. Godwin Peris, Hon. Rev. Sarath Iddamalgoda, Hon. Rev. Hugo Palihawadana, Hon. Rev. Jayarathne Randeniya, Hon. Rev. Christopher and Hon. Rev. Ruban appointed. After all of them the priest who serves currently the Hon. Rev. Athenasias was appointed as the parish priest.

As the (Muguppu) Mr. Bernard Nonis and after retirement the son of him Manuel Nonis were appointed as Annavi (son Christians) C. P. De Silva, Jauchine Lusena and W. Thimothi were appointed. Mr. W.D. Pemiyanu and Mr. Jaones Nonis also had worked as son Christians. (Annavi)

We thank and show our practicable to all the Rev. fathers work for the betterment of church and the devotees in the area for the priest who all ready dead we ahich them peace and for all the residents who are dead also. May God bless all of us through the mediation of St. Sebastian.

Bolawalana Catholic church has a prominent place of worship among the other churches. The structure was laid in 1557. There was a catholic church in Bolawalana dedicated to mother of cure stated in a report published by Governor Constantine Desha in 1928. It was famous as Bolawalana Kanikka church among Catholics and among Buddhists It was famous as Bolawalana Kanikka Dewalaya. It had Buddhist influence.

The out skirt of Negombo called Pitipankaraya. The pointed area called Munnakkaraya. In the east there was a large forest. It was a large forest (Maha Kelewa) called Aluthwalana. In the north of walana there was a shrine. It was a famous shire regarded and honored by Buddhist called Walana Dewalaya. Even today it is well famous shine. The people who went to this shire had to face many troubles. Sometimes bandits made many troubles to these pilgrims. The Buddhists follow only a philosophy, but they didn’t have a way of worship. So they tend to worship some gods of other religions. The shrines were built in the temples later to worship gods in places such as Munneswaram and Kataragama.

With studying this attitude of Buddhist and also the danger of traveling to Walana, the Portuguese who built a fort in Negombo thought some trick to convert Sinhala people Catholicism In the Maha Mukalana, North of Negombo built a shire and named Bolawalana. Some says that there were many Bo trees and Na trees because of this reason it was called Bonawalana. The meaning of this names a different one because there were not Bo or Na trees. Bona is a Portuguese word the meaning is good conditions, secured, shrines. The devotees felt that not like earlier Walana this new Walana is much safer and easier to search. So many devotees arrived here. There was many miracles happened. This famous shire called Mother Patthinis shire. In Portuguese days the area of Bolawalana parish reached Dandu ganga (river) to Maha Oya. When Dutch defeated the Portuguese and captured the coastal areas demolish the shine and built a school. However the villagers had stolen the statue and secretly worshiped it. This was mentioned in Rev. Joachim Gonzalez’s records.

When the British came to power all the persecutions were over received the freedom to worship. Then Governor Robert Wilmot Horton of British government gave the legal authority of the ownership of premises of Bollawalana shine to the Hon. Rev. Sebastiyan Pereira with a deed according act No in 183. December 16th There were twenty three stations owned by Negombo Parish, In April 10th 1867 given the legal authority to register Marriages on the act No 186. The parish priest Hon. Rev Emil Boudo had laid the foundation of the church in 1890. It was managed by Orithorain Fathers. After then the priest of Benedictine Marian order did the management.

The Tamil school started in this church. It is also the first parish of little Rome Maha Vidyalaya. Wella vidiya churches had the Mars in Tamil. Only place which had sinhala language was Bolawalana church until today.

Bolawalana church

It is situated towards South East of Negombo city about 3 miles away, on the surface of Minuwangoda Negombo road in Andiambalama.

Historical Background

This Bolawalana was mention in 175 poem of Kokila Sandeshaya written in 1440 – 1446 CE. There are many evidences that there was a shine in Bolawalana. Many devotees arrive here, but after Portuguese captured there guide the people to another venerated place. So this church was called Paththini Devalaya. Even today some called the Mother Mary to whom this church was decaled Godness Paththini.

One record which was published stated that there was a shire called mother of cure. The first church built outside the forts of Portuguese was Bolawalana. After Dutch came to power they had destroyed this church and had built a school. But the villagers conserve the statue of St. Mary. The areas which were under Dutch execution conquered captured by English. They cancelled all the bans. The foundation of the present church was laid by Hon. Rev. Emil Udo O. M. I. named the church Mother of Kanikka.

Architectural Structure

It was built according to Gothic Architecture. There is a stage in front of the church. The main entrance has a large door in the pattern of arches, another two doors beside in rectangle shape. There are two porches the top has a shape of an arch. In front of church there are four pillars carved on top. There are two verandahs beside the church with five pillars in each side. There are three doors and three windows each side of the shape of arches. The half circle side of door is carved. There are twelve windows of 25 feet of height are beside the church.

There are statue of Mother Mary and the baby Jesus on the stage and also some statues of saints. Inner walls are carved. There are two small transepts beside them call (Kurusa Palliya) A door are there to enter in to these two churches and two windows. All the doors and windows are shape of an arch. The top of these churches are triangular shape. Holy Square is fenud around. After is built with granite. Above the back there is a statue of Mother of Kanikka. On top of the four walls there are four pictures of disciples of four Gospels.

Introduction

The first missionaries in Sri Lanka, who spread the Gospel of Christ, were the Portuguese. The maritime provinces of the island were captured by the Portuguese invaders in the early sixteenth century and after about 150 years of occupation; they were completely expelled on 24 June 1658. The results of the Portuguese occupation, to summarize briefly, were the establishment of the Roman Catholic Church which took firm root mainly due to their free education and evangelistic enthusiasm. A large number of converts were made and several churches were built in Negombo. The Dutch East India Company succeeded the Portuguese and in 1640 captured Negombo.

The Dutch were in Sri Lanka for almost the same period as their predecessors mainly in the costal belt of the island. But for a Dutch cemetery

There is no record today to their having built a place of public worship in Negombo. Both the Dutch and the Portuguese were bent mainly on trade. The only evidence that yet remains in Negombo is a canal and the construction of a fort by the Dutch. There is a remnant of a rampart on which stands a clock tower with an under ground tunnel leading to magazine which was used to store guns, arms, ammunition and provisions in times of war. It would appear paradoxical that on this mound, which originally saved a military purpose, years later that church of St. Stephen was built for the glory of the prince of peace.

The British had captured almost all the Dutch settlements by the end of the 18th century. The entire island was finally ceded to the British after the fall of the Canadian Kingdom in 1815. The diocese of Colombo was founded in 1845 and the first bishop in Colombo was James Chapman. The need for a place of public worship for the Anglican community in Negombo was felt nearly a century after the first landing by the British in Sri Lanka. Steps were finally taken in 1876 to acquire a site for the purpose. A crown Grant dated 23rd September 1876 was made, the Grantee being the bishop of Colombo,

Rt. Revd. Reginald Stephen Copleston and the trustees of the church of Negombo, Messrs. Henry Bell, Charles Karlenberg and Harry Maule F Finch and their successors. The site selected for the erection of the church is in the area yet referred to as “The Dutch Fort” and is in extent only two roods and 17 perches according to the Crown Giant. The church building was completed by the end of 1877, and has been used for Divine Service before its consecration.

Consecration

It was on 31st July, 1879 this beautiful little church building of Gothic architecture was consecrated and set apart.

Forever for the service of God by the Rt.Revd. R.S. Copleston, Beshop of Colombo. It is a significant coincidence that Bishop Copleston also bears the name Stephen. An account of the consecration as given in a supplement to the Ceylon Diocesan Gazette of 2nd August 1879 is reproduced:

The consecration of St. Stephen’s church, Negombo, took place on 31st July. This church has for about a year half been used for divine service under the charge of a Lay reader, with periodical visits by a clergyman from Colombo. The present Lay Reader is Mr. H.W. Green. Assistant Government Agent, who succeeded Mr. Ffinch in the office on his removal to Kurunegala. The work has also been efficiently directed from Colombo by Revd. T.F. Falkner, and it is hoped that the possession of a consecrated church will act as a stimulus to the Burgher and the Sinhalese members. The church stands in a commanding position on the summit of a mound, overlooking the Kachcheri and the Assistant Government Agent’s house. The exterior is simple, but very neat and pleasing, with a small stone cross at each end of the ridge-tiles. The interior, including a small canal measures 64ft. 9in. by 24 ft and it well lighted and aired by numerous windows. On this occasion it was tastefully decorated with flowers moss and Evergreens, the alter and chancel being especially pleasing.

“At 8.30 a.m. His lordship the Bishop presented himself at the west door proceeded by his chaplain, carrying the pastoral staff, and by messes. Ffinch and Green, Mr. advocate Ball, and the Revs. T. Christian and F. de Mel. The petition for the consecration having been read by Mr. Ball, The Bishop signified his consent, and the procession moved up the church, all chanting the 24th psalm; the earth is the Lord’s and all the fullness there of … The bishop having then taken his place in the chancel, the sentence of consecration was read by Mr. Ball, and signed by his lordship … The Te Deum was sung, followed by the litany – Desk by the Bishop’s chaplain. Then came the hymn, ‘Light’s abode celestial Salem’ after which the Bishop began the communion office, the chaplain reading the Epistle and the Rev.T. Christan the Gospel. In his sermon the bishop, taking for his text the anointing of the feet of our Lord by Mary, exhorted his hearers to join with the dedication of this church a new dedication of them to the service of God, and to remember that it was not merely a place built for the convenience of worshippers, but a solemn and irrevocable gift to him to whose honor it had been erected. It was therefore something of a reproach and a blot of their offering that there was still a debt upon it, which he urged them to make earnest efforts to remove… The communicants numbered about 25.

The church was filled from the first by an attentive congregation, including many professed Wesleyans. There were besides numerous spectators outside. The chants and hymns were accompanied by an American organ of a remarkably pleasing tone, played by Mr. Boake. The debt on the church amounted to about Rs. 1,000/=, but it is to be hoped that other churches in the diocese will be glad to help further a station where so much has been done without a resident clergyman. The effort stories during the day were given to this object and amounted to Rs. 70/-.

After the interval a service in Sinhalese were held, and was also well attended, being made more interesting by the baptism of a Sinhalese woman, two English ladies being sponsors. The bishop officiated and afterwards addressed the congregation in Sinhalese; the rest of the service being performed by the Revs. T. christenna F. de Mel. Even song at 5 in English was said by the bishop’s chaplain, with special psalms and hymns, the bishop preaching from the words “I, If I be lifted you from the earth, will draw all men into me.”

The congregation was again good. Thus ended a very bright day, a new starting – point; let us hope, for the church people in Negombo.

Peroid 1880-1907,

in the absence of a residential priest and there being no clergy man available. The service on Christmas day in 1880 was conducted by Mr. H.W. Green, assistant Government Agent. Rev.Cpleston visited this church the following day, being St. Stephen’s day, for morning service. The congratulation numbered 46 and the communicants 25.

A meeting of the congregation of this church with the Acting Archdeacon in the chair, was held on 16th may, 1882 at Negombo to frame the rules for the management of the church of England portion (as it was then known) of the general cemetery, Negombo.

A fairly detailed account of this church during its early period is given in the following note of the Arch deacon’s visitation to this church as appearing in the Ceylon Diocesan Gazette of 2nd September 1885; Saturday and sun day (11th and 12th July 1885 respectively) I stayed at Negombo with Mr. and Mrs. Haughton. The church is quite a little gem; it stands on a piece of rising ground, not far from the Government Officers, and is thoroughly well appointed. A vestry has just been added which forms a north transept. A western perch is about to be built and a belfry. Negombo is certainly an instance of what may be done in a situation by judiciously neglecting it, Negombo has never received a government giant, and the church has been built and fitted most tastefully by the resident church people. Till Mr. Dias (Rev. W.Dias) was sent to Negombo a year ago, there had never been, except for a few months, a resident clergyman. As it is, Mr.Dias is only at St. Stephen’s church at one service on three Sundays in the month. The Sunday services are however regularly sustained and have been for the last eight or nine years by the residents of the station, Mr. F.J.de livera The district judge, is now the lay reader and at the lay services, at which am sorry to say no instruction is given, but only the officers of the church are said, the church is well filled. I had two services both on Saturday and Sunday and preached each evening, on private prayer and bible reading. The church was full on both occasions. At the celebration on Sunday morning there were 19 communicants, though the usual monthly communion had been celebrated on the previous Sunday. On Sunday afternoons a sun day school is carried on in the church by two ladies at whom I found 15 children present.

Soon after the arrival of the bishop R.S. Copleston, in the island he agreed to the surrender of the state – aid which the church had received hitherto from England. With the faith and courage and ecclesiastical wisdom he processed, he created the endowment funds of the bishop and the clergy. All monies collected thereafter by the standing-committee and the individual congregations were entrusted to the treasurer of the diocese for investment and the maintenance of the clergy. Under this scheme St. Stephan’s church; Negombo depended almost entirely on the diocese. Although the clergymen visiting the church have stressed time and again the need for a resident priest, their request does not appear to have been complied with due to the poor financial resources of the parish and the dioces Rev. W.J. Wejesingha, who was at St. Mark’s church, Dandugama, was given in charge of this church in the year 1900, in addition to his other duties. Rev.F. H. de winton. M. A.

(Appointed Archdeacon in 1902) has been in charge of this parish, from time to time, as far as records are available, from 1896 to 1906. A saint a scholar, extremely ascetic in habits, frail in health, Rev. De winton traveled under arduous conditions attending to the parochial needs, stayed invariably at the Negombo rest house by the lagoon, and conducted services both in English and Sinhala preaching in both languages.

The arch – deacons of Colombo in addition to their normal duties were also in charge of this church until such time a residential priest was appointed.

Period 1907 – 1979

During the first decade of this period there were two residential priests in charge of this church. R.e.v.s. G.A.H. Arndt and J.E. Silva from 1907 to 1911 and 1912 to 1916 respectively. These two priests given of their best for both the English and Sinhala speaking congregations and for the extension of God’s work in this parish, Rev. F. Mendis was in charge of this church in 1917. During the next three of four years from 1918, Ven. F.H.de Winton conducted services once again in this church and as Archdeacon had an oversight of this parish until the appointment of the Rev. W.P.Thomas, first as the deacon in February 1920 and later as priest in 1921. It is said

“An enthronement without a Throne; a Bishop without a Cathedral” Almost half a century of the life of this church it was “a priest without a parsonage” It was left to the young, energetic and resourceful Rev. Thomas to initiate action to build a parsonage.

Gifted with powers of persuasion it was no difficult task for him to find the necessary funds. The church building being surrounded by the lagoon and crown land, a problem arose to locate a suitable building – site for the parsonage.

Mr. K.L. Pereira, a long – standing and enthusiastic parishioner, rose to the occasion by persuading his friend Mr. Richard a. Perera, a lawyer and a Roman Catholic to sell his land 24.59 perches in extent for his purpose as it was well situated and in close proximity to the church for the sum of Rs.1600/ -. The deed of transfer was executed on the 25th March, 1924. The parsonage became a reality in 1926, almost on the eve of the fiftieth anniversary of the church. The sale of the land was affected during the time Roman Catholics considered the reformed churches as heretical. With the arrival of Rev. Thomas the Harvest thanks giving service by the English speaking congregation was revived after period of more than twenty years. Choral service of Holy Communion and choral even song were introduced once again. The services were well – attended and were greatly appreciated by the congregation, due both to the high standard of music and a choir trained by the musically talented Rev. Thomas. The church – pews too were extended by Rev. Thomas to accommodate the increase in the congregation. His period which was about 14 years could be considered the longest of a residential priest in Negombo.

The church building was furnished with electric lights soon after the introduction of electricity to Negombo. This was a gift from Mr. T.P.C. Carron, a prominent parishioner who is continuing to do his best for the church while yet practicing as an Attorney – at – law.

Rev. Thomas was succeeded by Rev. C.C.P. Arulpragasam in 1934; He was in charge of this parish until he was transferred in 1940.

Rev. T.A.M. Yayawardena who came to this parish as priest in 1940 helped many parishioners who were backsliders, and improved the attendance at Sunday Services by his regular visits to all the homes of the parishioners. He had no transport and dispite his physical disability to walk, he trudged long distances to visit a parishioner who had not been to church or one who is sick. There was a marked improvement in church attendance once again. He left the parish in 1945 on transfer.

It is in the Gampaha District North (Uthuru Aluthkurukorala) surface of the middle and South Pitipana facing the Thalahena road.

History

It is populated by some people migrated from Ruhuna south of Sri Lanka. Some priest came from Gove built a church statues the Catholic history.

The Easter dramas were started by the priests who had come from Gove with the statues carved by Nidappu Peduru. Even today there are two old Easter huts and a stage can be seen in front of the church. The villagers express that there were governing in 1764 arrested some artist while they were performing the drama. They were presented to the William Pork the governor. There was a tradition of dramas in Pitipans written on their own. The present church had been started to build in 1912 and complete in 1914. The architecture is as same as earlier. All the pictures and statues remains the same.

The plan of this church was brought by French father from Italy. The fence and statue of Johanadach were brought from France.

Architectural Structure

It is built according to Gothic Architectural. There are two porches 70 feet high besides it. These made the church larger look more spacious. There are three large doors of the larger look more spacious. There are three large doors of the shape of arch in front of the church to enter in. On the right there is the bell. In the building where this bell fixed have a stare case (wooden) to enter in to the church except the two three steps made of bricks and cement the fence of that made with wood. In the porches (Mogeppu) there is a huge wall clock fixed.

There are semi squared pillars. They are for the beauty only not for soil ness. There are some carvings on top of them are beautiful. Some angles were carved on the walls. Front wall also was carved. The frames were carved with differently liyawel and Palapethi (Like creapers) are carved. The porches are in squared shape and in 120 feet of height 8 angles are carved on it. The culpa built in the middle of church raised and equiangular shape. There are 8 angles carved on it.

The back of the holy square there is a wall and in front there is a fence built with marbles and covered it. The two churches (Kurusa) were exposed unlikely in the other churches. The fence was brought from France. Formerly it was fixed to church. The alter was also imported from France. It is decorated with carvings and beeralu. This is with Three stars and conserved the splendor of old. There are numerous statues of Mother Mary with baby Jesus are placed back wall of the alter. This is called (Kanikk- Mary) Mother of Kanikka.

There are fourteen doors, seven in one side. All are carved all the walls of church one carved. There are half squared pillars embossed to the wall. These are for the glamour and are carved. Above 20 feet of the inner wall there are twelve windows. These are built according to Githic Architecture and they are fixed with colorful different glasses. Some picture reflects in them. These pictures reflect to the opposite of lights in the day time they are visible to in side and in the night they reflects to out side when the church lights are on. They are imported from France. There are different features of St. Mary’s life and the Holy family.

On the right the birth of Jesus, the visit to Elesebeth by Mother Mary, Angel Gabrals message to Mary, engagement of St. Joseph and St. Mary the wedding, John the Baptist and St. Ann these are drawn on them, on the left. The crowning of St. Mary, hiding in …… hall, receiving of holy spirit Holy family. Fleeting to Egypt (St. Mary and Joseph). The baptism of Jesus can be seen.

There are built beside walls and placed statues in left. Mother Pathima, St. Nichlous, St. Peter’s statues are and on the right statues of Johanadac, St. Benedict’s placed.

The statue for processions is placed inside a carved cage. It covered 18 characters gold and all the jewelry would be warned. Below the windows with the colorful glasses there are twelve paintings hanged on. These pictures were there from the start. The ceiling of the church and the (Kurusa) churches are made by teak and have carvings.

There is upstairs at the front about yogis. There is a fence of wood. It is built for the choir. It doesn’t utilize now. There is a stare case to climb up.

There are many articles, stories written about Duwa. Specially about the Duwa famous drama. This drama is famous not only in Duwa but also in whole Sri Lanka and in some other countries.

The miraculous Statue used for Easter performance has completed 150 years in1989. Even long before they had brought the Statue in 1839, they used statues perform Easter dramas.

Why Jesus’ (Agony) or ‘Torment’ deeply rooted in the hearts of devotees in Duwa, a very small village. When compared with Wennappuwa, Katuneriya, Bolawatta and Dankotuwa it is very small similar to a small object could carried with our palm. Because of this same reason the qualities of Christ may have made some impact on them. They sustain their lives by fighting with the Sea, and they are sure to satisfy their needs with the blessing of God. They were cared by Mother Mary. They care their spiritual needs as well as physical need equally. This village is like Jesus’ home in Nasareth cared by Mother Mary. When they are in trouble or have some problems they go to church and pray, make supplication to God. There was not a moment that the church was empty.

They went to church had a prayer before starting the day and after finishing their duties. In the Easter time, when the Statue is in the church they went more often than usual. The Statue is the symbol of their lives. I had an opportunity to participate 150th Jubilee when I was the Parish Priest. This village was very different than others. The environment was also different. All young and old take care of their spiritual needs as well as their daily needs. It is because they were very much interested in Jesus’ Torment on the cross. They were possesed with Jesus’ qualities. They live as members of one family with unity and harmony.

The main reason to unite them is that they engage in the festival celebrations by participating one or two members of the same family in the Easter drama. Even they had some conflicts between them, they were to be united during the Easter season. It is same even today. There faith is genuine, it is a live.

If a person adhere the teaching of Jesus apply in their daily life, they could live a meaningful and successful life. It can be seen from their lives. We can learn a lesson from them.

History of Easter drama is famous and known by many people. So I do not write anything about it. I feel nobody ever had written something of this village. This is my opinion of this drama and an experiment. Whoever try to live according to Jesus’ teachings would walk in the correct path. Holy church will adorn him with a hailo around his head.

I do not say that they are saints. (the villagers) But when they try to inculcate the teachings deep inside, incone, he could lead a better life. Because these teachings will enlight them.

If a person dimmed his spiritual qualities (life) his life doesn’t have any value. It is worse than a life of an animals. There are many animals help us, like dogs, cows, cats ect., Man is created only a little lower to angels. If a man would not help a fellowman his life is not worth. Life will be miserable.

Many Christians love to watch the Easter drama. Some are participating with a deep devotion. Other want to compare the drama with the written records. It improves the faith, deepen the faith. They used this method to teach a religion that who were illiterate. It can apply even today. When Jesus’ life reflect from us and when it is a reality, we can lead a meaningful l life. What shall I do to this man’ he asked. You can embrace him, imitate him.

Distinguish Five main qualities of Easter drama.

What is Duwa Easter Drama? It is merely ascene of a drama or a traditional way of worship? It is the time to identify the issue.

Now the time to reform Catholic way of worship in Sri Lanka. The way has to be localized in Sri Lankan style. Some friends belong to Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist religions still perform their rituals, activities in Pali, Sanscrit, Hindi, Arabic languages. We catholics accomplish every aspect of our devotion in Sinhala in accord with Sri Lankan style.

In the past through out the world in all catholic churches used Latin like a link of a chain. At present only a few retired priest and some laity class know Latin.

  1. It is a continues performance once in three years up todate 150 – 261 years.
    Many organizations prop up and disappeared. Duwa drama is opposite. The reason is that the villagers of Duwa feel each one has a unique roll and they have a responsibility. It is a common activity all are engaged in once it was shown at the St. Peter’s Church and the next two years in Duwa for 7 days, 5 days, now on Good Friday. Once drama was shown in a church belongs to Jesuit order on the 30th November 1602 was said. In 1603 Bolawatta, 1613 Kammala, 1617 Chilaw records reveal the drama had shown in above places.

    Duwa drama was begun 1728. Now it has completed 250 years. We have hand over the investigations to younger generation on that issue. Formerly it was performed in line with Father Jacome Gonsalvez, on the script ‘Torment’. In Tamil it is named ‘viakula pirasangam’. There were no descriminations between Sinhala and Tamil. It is certain that the 100th Jubilee was celebrated in 1839. In 1939 the historical Statue 6’feet 4 inches in hight was used to perform drama in the festical celebrations.

  2. Modernization and revelution made by Father M.Jayakody in 1937.
    The parish priest of Duwa in 1939 made revelutions by adopting a new script in line of the English drama “born to be king” modernize the drama. Many priest knew that it is a great challenge convince the villagers to reform the traditions. But some how Fr. M. Jayakody could win their hearts. It is not an easy task. It is revolution done to reform their lives. With these reforms the villagers could follow Jesus qualities more closer. It is a courageous act. We must honour the ancesturs who werewillingly agreed on the revolutions accomplished about 50 years back.

  3. Living charactors instead of Statues
    The dramas of Lawrence Perera who used living to transform these dramas torusing living characters. In the dramas of Lawrence Perera used living characters. Probably these dramas may have made some impact on the Easter drama in Duwa. However the villagers when they participate vivid charactors in these dramas make dramatical changes in their lives. Although the human characters used in these dramas female rolls as Veronica and Claudia were performed by male actors instead of female. Rev. Fr. Jayakody he knew that the Archbishop of Colombo Rev. Mason the last foreign archbishop prohibited the dramas of Boralessa for the reason that they selected female actors. We never knew about it. From 1939 up to the scene of Pilates verdict some living characters were involved. St. Mary’s, St. Joshph’s characters are performed by using the Statues as earlier. Ascention of Jesus’ and the reciding of 7 verses are done at this time of the scene.

  4. The drama and the sermon is mingled together on the Good Friday.
    It is more than a drama. It is a sermon on the bible. The people get more closer to the event not as spectators but as devotees. Preserve these high standard is a challenge and a responsibility of all the villagers. When Jesus’ carry the cross trekking towards all the spectators compelled to follow him as real devotees. They are not like on lookers but they participate in the event as a reality.

  5. The stage is enormous. 36 feet in hight, 60 feet in length.
    In the middle of the stage Jesus’ last supper is performed. Beside the betrayal of Jesus performed with Judas scariol and Caipus. On this stage many events could be performed at the same time not as a normal drama. Some scenes are imitated by old Nurthi dramas says Sunil Mihindukulasuriya. There aren’t any live characters or Statue to performed the roll of two robbers beside Jesus.’ Only two garments hangs on it. I feel this drama is not just some scenes but it represents real way of worship, unique to our country the Sri Lanka. If we could give life to drama, “Raja thun Kattuwa” (Three Kings) it will be a great contribution. It is a cultural treasure.

I humbly request Duwa Easter drama (organization) to publish a book about “Easter of Duwa”. They can invite a scholor who is studying abroad a clergy or laity to complete the above task. Please open a fund on that. Many dramatist, artist inquire about a book of research.

I wish someone may born from the same ground of Duwa.

Hon. Father Earnest Porutota
Parish Priest of Colombo.

Location

It faces to the main street in the East of Negombo Aluthkuru Korala in Gampaha District of Western province. It is dedicated to St. Mary former church in this place was built in 1603 CE and when Dutch came to power that was destroyed. There were about 1300 Catholics gathered. After Britain came into power Hon. Rev. Pingas built a chapel in the land where the present convent is. Later a rectangle church 160 feet of height and 60 feet in length and width was built. The present church was built by expanding the rectangle church in 1874 in the time of Hon. Rev. Visalanu. Adjoining the church there is a school named St. Mary’s built by Catholic Church. A pillar of church had cracked down in the tenure of Hon. Rev. Grulet who was the parish priest. Fisher families had assisted in the renovations this church was built by the fisher families on their own account.

Architectural Structure

It is a very big church built in Gothic Architecture. Generally the Roman Catholic churches are built in the shape of a cross. There are three halls Main church and two other small halls called transept. The middle part of the main hall is called Holy Square. Back of it is the store room.

There are very high two porches beside the front of the church about 120 feet in height. Thickness of a wall is 3 feet. Four pillars stand, 5 feet of Diameter in front. They are carved on top. On these pillars another four pillars placed. They also are carved on top. To enter in to the church there are three doors. The middle door leads to the main hall and it is a line with the after there are two quarry doors beside the main hall Separated them with pillars. These are about 12 feet in height.

There are 10 pillars five in each side. Thicknesses of these are 2 feet. All these are joint with an arch like wall. All these are carved on top. The doors beside are leading to the quarry doors. The pillars beside is in 25 feet of height embossed to the wall as a part of the wall. There are 14 windows above 25 feet, fixed with some colorful windows. On the ceiling there are pictures of St. Mary’s (event in her life). At the entrance of the church there is a wooden up stare and a star case. First few steps had built with bricks and the rest are in wood.

The pillars which separate the main hall and the quarry doors in side made stages and placed statues on the first pillar Jesus. Second pillars St. Joachine, thried St. Ann, fourth St. Carmet, fifth St. Augastine. On the right hand side the statues resembles the way of the cross were placed. Above these there are drawings of Jesus and St. Mary’s on top of these there are semi circular windows. Ceiling of the quarry doors are carved with cement carving.

In 1640 CE. Coastal areas were being ruled by Portuguese. In the meantime Dutch were striving hard to capture these same areas. When Portuguese heard that the Dutch encircled the Negombo Fort, in the North of Colombo and secretly searching for a place to flee through. There was a Canal built by King of Kotte for the purpose to recede the flood water in Muthurajawela had flown to the lagoon.  When Portuguese found the mouth of Canal which opens to the lagoon got on to the board of ships broadened the Canal and fled through the Sea to Colombo Fort.

Later the residents of Pamunugama used this Canal to transport the wood, fire wood and they traveled across. This land was named ‘Kapumen Egoda’ became Kepungoda in later time. They believe that their was a Fort of Portuguese. Sarakkuwa meaning (Mura Geya). Some ruins of it remained until recent past.

In 1710 three sons of Jayamanne. Mohottige Don Koranevis lived in Ambalanwatta, wend and lived  (settled) in that place. They often cross the Canal to engage in their spiritual activities connected to Pamunugama church. When the water filled and over flowed the mouth of the Canal, so they couldn’t cross the canal. Then they had built small hut and kept a picture of St.Carmels prayed to it, says in the song of blessing in ‘July Kanya’ drama written by Jayasooriya Arachchige Don Juse.

There were some people who went on a pilgrimage to Thalawila, the leader was Pitipanage James Fernando met with a storm. They had to stationed on the beach in this area. They had to stay here for some time till the storm was stopped and the sea was calm. The villagers of the area had shown their hospitality and cared these crowed lovingly. After sea got calm they started the journey and returned their hometown. Pitipanage James Fernando realized the place was a very rich fishing land migrated with the family to Kepungoda. They were devoted worshipers of St. Anthoney’s. Obtaining a picture of St. Anthoney with much devotion prayed to it.

In 1825 built a small church thatched with Cadjans. In 1846 dedicated it to St. Anthoney’s. It had built between the premises of present church and the old hut for the prayers, in the centre. This land was  donated by the son of Pitipanage James Fernando named Manuel  Fernando on the 18th June 1844 with the deed No. 379.

A school was opened for spiritual education in 1856. It was built (erected) opposite the present cemetery. The first Annavi Muppu was a grand son of Pitipanage James Fernando, named Diago Fernando. The bell was brought in 1866. They did not satisfied with the church and thought it is not in proper standard.  They were thinking to build a new church. Under the guidance of Hon. Fr. Silvester Pippili with the consent of Arch bishop Bonjun laid a foundation for a new church. It was bought from Son Christian Peter Fernando on the 29th June of 1869 extent of 20 yards x 10 in. The couldn’t build for 20 till 1895 due to some disputes regarding a Rainder (the 1/10 which collected from residences)
In 1884 A land was bought from Joseph Henry Soysa name Domingo Kurunduwatta (Sarakkuwe church land) by Hon. Fr. Direkshi. After Mortgaging the land started to build the church. The share of the Caraline Moisas also donated to the church. Whole extent of land was 11 acres 03 rudes on do 4 purchase. Bought for Rs.2092.75.

A Canal was built connecting to lagoon by Hon. Rev. Murior in 1894. All the building materials needed were transported through this Canal. The briks and the lime stones were brought through lagoon up to the Canal were brought on the shoulders of devotees to the church premises. The lime was made in the conera of a land of church. All the devotees had engaged in this task without and hesitation,  offering their strength and wealth.

The priest had to reach for the duties through the barges or boats had crossed the canal. In 1900 the alter had completed first maas had offered on the Christmas day by Hon. Rev. Malga with much splendor. The sacred heart committee was started during this period. The boys school had transferred to the present place and started the educational activities. The land of the school was donated by Hon. Rev. John Aponsu and Hon. Rev. Manual Aponsu’s parents. The ceiling of alter was built by the money received by fishing on Sunday with special consent of the parish priest. (Normally do not fishing on Sundays)  In 1915 a convent was built for nuns and another school built for girls.  The land was donated by J.D. Marthelis Appuhamy. Hon. Rev. Paris bough 9.50 purches for Rs.60/= drawn a plan for the whole land of church cleared the deeds.

In 1925 in Rev. M. Gunasekara’s period Arch bishop Anthony Kuderu blessed and dedicated the church in St. Anthoney’s home in grandure. The area where the well was located marked to build the Jaela- Negombo main road. The well had to be filled and leveled to allow the road to be built. But no one intiated the task. In 1930 the well was overflowed and submerged to the earth. (in front of many people) While they were awaiting in front of it. The Easter celebrations they had built hut with three stories. The scenes which were performed was from the creation to Jesus’ ascention to heaven. The Statues which used to perform Jesus’ life experience, the segments of statues are remaining still at the church to give evidence.

There was a special procession to symbolize the 700th Jubilee of St.Anthoney’s on the 13th June 1931. Each and every devotee had carried a lighted bucket in their hands trekked from Sarakkuwa to the church in the evening had performed Novinas. The present well had built by a resident of Tudella a businessman Joseph Fernando. In mid January the residence most of them were fishers (anglers) performed 8 Novinas in a splendor. Before it happened on the previous Sunday celebrated St. Sebastians feast. On that same day they went on a procession around the village

It is the only church dedicated to St. Barbara which celebrates the 100 year. It was belonged to pitipana Parish. The Parish Priest was John Lio Ratnayaka Aich Bisop Chrislopher Bonjune had given the consented him tables the corner stone on the 10th October 1889, Witnesses were Jacob Fernando and Santhiyago Fernando.

The plan was on the 25th October 1889 CE for the completion of the church was estimated for Rs. 300. But they have started Rs. 290 in hand. Bricks, Lime, corner stone – foundation stores, wood were ready. Masons and the villagers had volunteered. They had paid only carpenters half of the day’s wages.

In 1894 the church was completed. The date is carved on the beams. The first to see the date was Hon. Father Don Edward. So the golden jubilee was celebrated in 1944.

The contractors were well experience “Bas Seeya” the name given an honor for Mr. Manuel Peris and S. Kathodis Peris. Bas Seeya had built the bell and he had donated an eight acre land to the church. The land of church and the St. Barbara’s statues was donated by D. Migel, K.D. Manuel, two brothers. The wooden fence also won a donation by Migel. It was renovated by M. Anthony Bruno and M. David Fernando with the donations made by many. It is a symbol of unity spiritual water.

Thalahena Village

It is situated in the middle of Basiyawatta in the North Dungalpitiya in the south, Negombo in the East and the coastal sea in the west. It is a fascinating village miles long and ¼ miles in with (area)There are two Thalahena had become. Thalahena some say Thalahena had become Thalahena. Geologically these two are correct bust latter is more consider.

In the beginning of 19th century there were few living their and almost all were fishing families and were Catholics When Joseph D. Priyas was the parish preiest in Negombo. In 1827 Thalahena Christians built small church and dedicated to St. Barbara (Present church was stored build in 1889)

Accept one or two houses all the others were thatched houses (The main street was built recently) Former road was in front of church near the lagoon. It is a gravel road and beyond that they have traveled through water. The devotees had traveled through rafters to Festival in Pamunugama and Thalawila St. Anne’s Festival. Boats were seen ill 1950. the fishers of Thalahena were very clever in their industry. They catch fish by using a culture fish as the bait in the nights.

There were people who were very clever in various industries. One of these skilled person was B. Alisandari Fernando called Wadu Mama,Who was very clever creator of sailor boats. Another was a famous sculpture who could some statues for Easter dramas.

A clever architecture from Thuththukudiya Mr. S. Manuel Peris who had built about thirty churches was another clever person.

In 1966 this village had made significant reforms after implementing new tourism scheme. Residence of this village had employed in this.

Blooming Flower of Purity

There was a person call Dioscrews in Nikko media city of Rome he was a very wealthy person. He had a very beautiful daughter. Her name is Barbara. When she had grown older became more beautiful young lady. There were many proposals were brought even through her own father. She was not interested in any. She was separated from all the ties with the outsiders. Father had to leave for a far away place. He built a very tall tower and kept her with all the needs to secure her.

In the meantime Barbara came to know true gad. She realized that her father was doing hypocrisy. She built another window in the tower. She wonted to do it to symbolize the Trinity. When Diocrews return he got the news that her daughter converted to catholic. When she was inquired she had admitted it. Then the father insist her that she must abandoned the catholic she didn’t angry father got wild and brought her to the courts to a judge the Maximum. Although the judge advised her she didn’t listen to him. He couldn’t change her mind. He said the she was punished. Never could anything change her he was surprised of her bravery. The judge thought it was a challenge and insult. She was punished with many ways of torture. All these were silently accepted by Barbara. The final punishment was father take over this task and went with a sword to her. She fled from him escaped several times. Finally she got caught to him. He was not feel mercy toward her. With one stroke of sword her neck was she had fallen down amidst a pool of blood. When Divorces tired to flee but he couldn’t run far he was stroked with lighting and electrocuted him.

As a penalty of worshiping catholic not only Barbara another woman Juliana also had to give her life. Velenleen buried both the bodies. Many went to the grave of her and prayed for their successes and got cured. People from everywhere openly worshiped and received some relief even before 9th century. Formerly she was regarded as the saint of thunder and lighting. Later she was the canons and the mind owners. When people are in the oritical status for last sacraments and commotions she was considered as a mediator.

In 1448 a person named in her hand nears a tower. Sometimes there are cannon near the statue. St. Barbara didn’t make her beauty a curse. She wasn’t being a slave for rich has Couldn’t suppress her with any power. She was abdomens in her faith what ever challenges, threats or abuse.

We must follow her foot steps closely the saint, the church had dedicated to her.

Fatima church Thalahena

There is a very interesting and fascinating story behind this church. To promote the faith in St Fatima and Christan mission was launched. A statue of St Fatima was brought from Portuguese and carried through out the world.

When this status was carried through in Sri Lanka it came to Thalahena village and was kept on a stage. It was a very important day for Justina Achchi. Alias H.T. Justina Fernando who lived near this stage she felt that the holy water in Lude’s church and slowly she went to the stage and kept a container of water. It was 12th July 1950. The statue was brought to Thalahena amidst thousands devotees at about 3 O’ clock. Later it was carried to Pamunugama church.

Justina Achchi slowly went to the stage and brought the container of water as a valuable treasure to her home. After she drank a little water and felt her relief and cured and refresh. With this experience she gave a little water to her neighbors who were sick. With faith and devotion they had drunk it and got cured they said.

In commemoration of this incident father non C. Coralack built a small altar. The well which was near it was used to bathe after adding some holy water. Who had baths would care. When the message heard through out many came to bathe and get cured. The well was built their.

Many people came to cure themselves by bathing with the water and stayed for several days. In the day the reflection of St. Fatima was appeared in the well some said.

However people who had ailment were cured with their faith.

It is situated in a beautiful environment regarded by many devotees. The festival of this status is celebrated first week of September ever Thursday. There is a mars to cure the sick and praying for sick blessing the sick are being happening in this place. Aba Casla Hon. D.J. Weththasinghe, Philics Mewal, Lepertiyer and Francis Fernando dedicated themselves to develop this church. This fascinating Fatima statute is a K. Francis Perera’s present. It is a commendable gerora had presented by Victor Bass. Mr. M.J.C. Victor Fernando. We appreciate the assistance of parish priest Gregory Jayantha. We never can be forgetting the effort make by the youth to keep this place clean and beautiful. Please guard us who come to you for your help.

Sri Lankan had a great opportunity to gain knowledge about God the almighty in 1505 with the arrival of Portugies. Later Dutdh and the English started the missionary service in 1602. The Anglican Church had sent two missionaries named Peter and Mayer in 1819. It was the initial stages of the Anglican Church in Sri Lanka. At this time the work in Sri Lanka was being supervised under the bishop of Culcuta. A bishop named Hon. James Chapman was appointed by the Anglican Church. Companies belong to Anglican Church, A.S.P. and C. M. S. Sent the missionaries to Sri Lanka. As a result of their ardent effort many embraced Christianity. A.S.P. had been serving specially in the western part of the island. After some time the missionaries were sent to Sri Lanka, started the activities in Kurana. These work was assigned to A.S.P. company and it had continued the services in Kurana by appointing the deacons and the reverants This company had been assisting the work until 1930 about 82 years by providing the needs of the preachers. When the deacon was expelled from the congregation it had a difficult time to continue the work so the members who were very much devoted and keen on to learn the truth as well as had an interesting bring the people in the dark to he light, urged the bishop of Colombo to send a preacher. They did not received a reply early sent a reminder through some members by rafters on the canal to Colombo. The bishop received them dearly and accepted the application and consider that carefully, introduced the new deacon to them Mr. Thomas Christian .As Mr. Thomas was ready to accept the duties he was accompanied the members at their return on the rafters and landed. Many people were there to welcome him with honor.

Rverent Thomas Christian (1853 -1883)

Rev. Thomas Christian was born in 1822 at Baddegama. He was a Christian by his birth, belong to a poor family. The parents sent him to the Anglican school of Baddegama. For further education and to learn entered the Anglican school in Kotte. The time he spent in Kotte was his happiest days in his life he said. The religious education he received in this school had made an impact on him. When the other children were playing he was reading books related to philosophy and religion. Although he was not clever in the other subjects he had a keen interest on the subjects related to the religion. In 1843 his father died so he had to leave the studies and go home to care the family. He started to work as a teacher at a school in Baddegama. Not before long he was invited to work as a deacon at Hikkaduwa. He had a good friend who was a judge named Mr. Clerk. He advised him to work as a teacher in an orphanage attached to St. Thomas College Modaraand he was the person who had sent to Kurana. He thought that it was a place that he could serve God immensely. Kurana was not a place of many hope as the residence of the area are not pious, many are atheists. He was an honest, kind, humble and loving person and the other priest assisted him in his services.

After he had arrived Kurana he was appointed to a deacon and later became a reverent. He was an experienced, knowledgeable who could preach and teach very well the scriptures. Further more he was honored by all the members of his honesty, good conduct, generosity, and zealous. So that there were many friends gathered around him. He was complete in qualities of a clever preacher that the sermons were very simple, enthusiastic, have appropriate illustrations, orderly, meaningful and clear.

There was not a place to have the services so they had held them in the St. Phillips School. That land was donate by Mrs. Rosina Salgadu, the wife of late Mr. Carolis. The area that assigned to him was a very large from 14th mile post to 45th mile post, from Dandugama to Madampe. Dandugama, Kurana, Negombo, Marawila, Madmpe all those areas were under him, but the main station was Kurana. The neigboring villagers Dambuwa and Govinna were also attached to Kurana.He realized the need of a Church.

As a miracle a plot of land was donated by Phidelica Peris to build a church. With much effort a church was built.

Present and Ancient Stories of Kurana belong to Negombo of Gampaha District

Boundry

To the North  Thaladuwa, Minuwangoda road
  East Goluwapokuna Estate and the Air Force Camp
  West Nayaka Road Katunayaka
  East Lagoon

It is a village in Gampaha District of Western Province and belonged to Uthuru Aluth Korale

Within the limits of Katunaka Seeduwa municipal council and Negombo Municiple council,

The area is from Diya Honda Canal to Nayaka road named Kurana Katunayaka.

From Parakrama road to Minuwangoda road named Kurana Bolawalana.
From Thaladuwa road to Lagoon named Kadolkele.

Kurana was devided in to 4 divisions by the regime of English. Division 1 was the area of Kadolkele estate as there were not populated, and it was not famous. 2nd, 3rd and 4th were called Kurana. These divisions are still marked in the surveyor plans and the deeds.

The boundries of the divisions are as follows:-

1st Division Kurana to the North – Thaladuwa road ½ a km of area., East – Galkanda Junction, South- Colombo road, Galkanda junction South Colombo roas and to the West lagoon.
2nd Division To the North Thaladuwa, East – Colombo road, South Diyahonda canal, West Negombo lagoon and about ¼ km distance runs up the canal.
3rd Division To the North – Minuwangoda road, East Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe road, South Diahonda canal and to the West – Colombo road an area of 2 ½ km.
4th Division To the North – Minuwangoda road, South Goluwapokuna Estate. And Katunayaka Air Force camp, South Diahonda canal, West Sri Wckrama Rajasinghe road an area of 2 ½ km.

How it Established

There was a Mudlier called Gajasinghe Kurunayakar awarded a land by the king as a gift of honor for his faithful service, this area was called Kuruna and this place was inherited by his generation, (see Neethi Rathnawaliya pages 141 to 142 ) After establishing this village.

Another mudlier called Madurasinghe Katunayakkara awarded a land as gift of honor by the king and it was called Katunaka says the legends

The people in the area were belonged to one cast, served as guards for the king. There were security camps established by the king of Senkadagala in this area mention in the legends. Later in the period of English rulers established security camps in the same area.

Nobles and the Special Events

In the time of king Rajasinghe there was a battle between him and the Portuguese in 1581-1592. During this time there were two devoted captains named Gajasinghe Kodikara Mudyanse and Mudlier Madurasinghe Lansakkara mentions in the books (Neethi Rathnawali page 143)

The matters related to the religion and the persecutions under gone by the Catholics during the regime of Dutch are recorded in the archives.

The religious observances were held in a place of a carpenter were the priest was often visiting in 1704 and  stored all the utensils for the services.

There was a school in Kurana (recorded in the book of Hon. Fr. V. Perniale, in the history of Catholic during the regime of Dutch in 1658-1711, Volume 1 page 255, Extract from a  book written by F. Venlentif of Amsterdam in 1726. Oud en Nieuw oost Indan from the series in the volume V pages 426-433) In a report presented to the governor of Dutch, C.J. Simson in 1704 included some information about the above. So we can believe that there was a school in Kurana.

When a Catholic priest named Hon. Fr. Lorence Coloko was passing the village during the period of persecution, a leader of the village named Diyogu Arachchi had started a quarrel with the priest. He was a commander that there were some forty men, under him and he was called by a special title of Catholic, “Modemo”. But he had worked against the Catholics with the leaders of Dutch regime for his own personal gain describes in the book of Ceylon history from 1747-1795 in the 2nd Volume in page 80. In an extraction from Archive of Gova 176-cf 18 753-766-19 describes about Kurana

It is mentioned in Indo-Lanka Ethenic Afficities written by G.N. Kumaratunga, the leader who helped to evacuate was Mudlier Alponsu Rajakasn In the middle of 20 century lived a person named  Mynaidelage John carolis Fernando was a resident who was very fluent in English and he was a village headman in the rule of English.He was also a native doctor lived in 3rd Parakrama road in Kurana.

He was appointed as the coroner and a justice of the peace. He was practicing as a notary public as well as a good cultivator who owned many lands. He was awarded honorary name and changed his name to John Carolis Piumwardana. (Able to see the monument at the cemetery in Kurana Katunayaka 1895.) In the beginning of 20th century there was another leader called Mynaidelage John Fernando. He also was awarded an honorary name and changed his name as John Fernando Gunaratna. He was a notary public lived in the Kurana 4th  division. He was the Mayor of Negombo Municipal council in 1950. As an honor a road was named as John F. Gunaratne in Negombo. He was the pioneer in building of the St. Ann‘s school and the church in Kurana.

Another person called Mynaidelage Valantine Fernando also awarded an Honorary name by the English government and changed his name as Mudlier Velentine Fernando Wijayaratne. He was a principal living in Kurana 4th division from 1957-1958 and also he was the deputy mayor of Negombo municipal council.

Mr. Vincent Kariyakarawana the deputy mayor of Negombo municipal council from 1962-65 had built many roads in Kurana when he was a minister of municipal council.

Amen Kariyakarawana, the brother of Vincent Kariyakarawana was the chairman of Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corperation in 1977. Another brother of him was a media personnel.

Another resident of Kurana E. Johnson De Silva was the deputy mayor of municipal council of Negombo in 1965.

The son of John Gunaratna a judge Sarachchandra Gunaratna was the administrative officer of Wellawatta Weaving mill in June 1st 1983, later became the mayor of municipal council of Negombo. Then he became a minister of parliament of Negombo belongs to the Gampaha District. He pave the way to a new era expanded the area by joining Kochchikade, Pitipana Duwa, Thalahena and Peruwa to the Negombo municipal council. The main bus stand was transferred to the present place Kadolkele and developed the town area. Park at the beach, Shopping complex. Pradeepa hall also was a creation with his effort.

Levis Fernando 1994 , Austin Daberera 2002, and Neel Dunstan Fernando in 2006 were some of the Kurana  people appointed as municipal ministers of parliament.

Cultural Imformation

It is mention in the archives says that there was a church with about 599 members who were gathered from Kurana. (mention in the book written by Hon. Fr. P. Pernoilen The History of Ceylon, in the time of English, mentioned in the Volume 1 page 125 1775-1844.and in Volume 3, 1850-1855. Instead of the old church had started to build a new church in 1952. The initiator of this new building was Fr. Y. Roshan a French priest.

Kurana is a village of Sinhala Nationality and most of them are Catholics and some Anglicans and Methodists are also living in the area..

New Colombo Puttalam road was a narrow one and the mode of travelling was bullock carts. So the people who were travelling from Colombo to Puttalam, Puttalam via Negombo, Dandugama via Kandy  travelled through Kurana village As there were no bridges in Munnakkarai or Pitipana.

In 1907, a railway line was built from Puttalam to Negombo. The Negombo station was opened on the 10th of December 1910 and continued the transportation through the railway. Later an agency railway station was established and started issue the tickets. There were discriminations which prevaile among people about cast and creed, later changed with the migrated people from the other parts of the country. So it helped to this village to march on towards development. In 1994 another two plattforms  were built and became a main station.

Education in Kurana

We mentioned earlier that there was a school at Kurana. In the early 20th century need of a school was realized. The Catholic Church provided the fund to start a school in 1943. As a result present St Ann’s school had begun. The land adjoining the school was donated by Mr. T. E. K. de Cruse. On the 29th of April 1945 the school was opened with the blessings of Fr. D. J. Anthony. The area of the building was about 80ft in width and 1600ft in length. This building can accommodate 160 students. The First principal was Mr. D. E. Muhandiram. It had started with the students of 181 and there were three teachers gradually expanded up to 1000 students and 40 teachers at present, a famous school in Negombo zone.

Another school started recently which is managed by St, Peter’s College Colombo as a private school named St. Jude gradually tread forward to a higher position. Literacy rate in Kurana is about 99%. There are engineers, doctors, entrepreneurs, artists, teachers, priests, brothers and nuns were born in this village. Salpeduruge Peter Fernando, Mynaidelage Albert Fernando Biyanwilage Antony Fernando, Deraja Arachchige Primus William Fernando, Waluthanthige Justin Perera the principals who were born in Kurana. There were  people who worked in the forces and there were personnel of force who died during the Elam war. They were Allappage Leo Anthony Fernando, (police), Mynaidelage Raj Fernando (police), Ranjan Peris (Army), Liyanage Anil Pushpakumara and Amarasinghe Arachchige Rohan (Air Force).

The Environment

There were two lush paddy fields called Wevagama and Meegahawela. The cultivating is annihilated in these from about 25 years because there are no farmers and due to some irrigation problems.

The western part of Kurana is the lagoon, Many people could sustain there lives with engage in fishing but as the Mangrow trees are cut near the bank and also filled the area, the natural breeding places are destroyed as a result the harvest is less.

There are few people still engaged in fishing in order to sustain there lives. Many are employed in outside of the village to earn their living.

The middle area is hilly that it does not threaten by any floods and there is clean water. It was a cinnamon estate.

Today there are few coconut estates remaining but most of the area is covered with buildings and much populated. Recently the ministry had announced by a gazette, to build only the residence places

Many people prefer to live in Negombo as there are all the necessities prevailed in the area such as hospitals, schools, transport, Air port and the free trade zone.

Reported by J. Emmanuel F. Piume Warden dated 26th Sep. 2009. To The internet of Meepura.

The Historical Background in Kurana Village

The boundaries of Kurana are Diya Honda canal and the lagoon. There is an interesting story behind this name. When the King was deported from the country as a prisoner he was passing this canal, he had drunk water from the canal, so the people felt that the water was clearer than well water and later it was called Diya Honda Ela (the canal contains good water) Nayaka road is also one aboundry to Kurana village. Earlier it was a forest then became a cineman estate and later a coconut estate. There were not any ruins belong to Buddhism or to any other religion.

In the period of King Rajasinghe there were two Mudliers called Gajasinhe Kurunakkara and Madanasinghe Katunayakar. The place where Katunayakar lived had named Katunayaka and the place where Kurunayakkara lived had named Kurana. There is an another version, it was a land with lots of thorns and also there was a huge Na tree taller than all the other trees stood above all as a leader so it had got the name meaning the leader to all thorns.

The lagoon which brings much fascination to Kurana, Katunayaka and Negombo is the main sustain of the lives of many people. This was the main route they used for transport goods as well as people. The Missionary who had build the St., Phillip church also used the same route. If you go near the lagoon on an evening you would see wonderful eye catching scenery.

At present it is a complex village with a busy air port, Air force camp and a free trade zone. It represent with all the nationalities. Most of the residents are Catholics and there is considerable number of Methodists as well. Some Christians belong to other denominations also are there in the area. Katunayaka is internationally well known city, because of the international air port. With these information and all the experience it completes 120 years.

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Last Update: 29-07-2015

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