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ශාන්ත අන්තෝනි සිද්ධස්ථානය

St. Anthony's Shrine

St. Anthony's Shrine

St. Anthony's Shrine

St. Anthony's Shrine is a Roman Catholic church in the Archdiocese of Colombo in Sri Lanka. The church is located at Kochchikade, Kotahena, Colombo 13, and is dedicated to Saint Anthony of Padua. The church is designated a national shrine and minor basilica. A tiny piece of St. Anthony's tongue is preserved in a special reliquary, which is located in a glass case together with a statue of the saint, at the entrance to the church. 

HISTORY The church's origins relate to the early Dutch colonial period when Catholicism was banned from the island, with Catholic priests carrying out sermons from hiding places. Fr. Antonio disguised himself as a local merchant, finding refuge with a local fishing community at Mutwal. According to local legends the community sought his help to stop the sea eroding their village, and Fr. Antonio planted a cross and prayed at the beach, resulting in the sea receding and the community converting to Catholicism.

The Dutch authorities then allocated him some land to carry out his sermons, whereupon he built a mud brick chapel dedicated to St. Anthony of Padua (Sant'Antonio da Padova). Fr. Antonio is buried within the church. In 1806, the chapel was enlarged, and in 1822 one of the members of the Congregation went to Goa and brought back a statue of St. Anthony, which still resides on one of the church's altars. Construction of a new church commenced in 1828 and it was consecrated on 1 June 1834. The church was built in the Neoclassical style. In 1938 the church was improved and enlarged, with the addition of a chorister's gallery, large wings on side, and a mission house and meeting room behind the main altar. The enlarged church was consecrated on 16 February 1940. April 2019 "Monday, however, a day after the bomb blast ripped through its entrance, things are very different. The attack here was one of eight across the country which killed 310 people and injured many more" BBC


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