News by emailDonate

Suggestions

Top Stories

Most Read

Popular Videos

justin-welby-in-sri-lanka-main_article_image.jpg
Archbishop of Canterbury Twitter
World News

Archbishop talks about Christian unity in Sri Lanka

by Press Association

The Most Rev Justin Welby visited St Sebastian's Church in the seaside town of Negombo just after arriving for a three-day visit to the country.

More than 100 people died in the attack on the church in Negombo, which is known as The Little Rome due to its dense Catholic population.

A total of 263 people were killed when seven suicide bombers from a local Muslim group attacked three churches and three luxury hotels on April 21, in the worst violence by the Islamic State group-linked militants in South Asia.

Quoting a sermon by Pope Francis's personal preacher delivered to the Queen years ago, Mr Welby said: "When they come to kill us do they ask if we are Christians or Pentecost or Presbyterian or Catholic? They ask only if we are Christian.

"So when on Easter morning I heard of the terrible events in this church and other places in Sri Lanka, we knew that our sisters and brothers have been killed and wounded and we kept silence and prayed for you."

Mr Welby was welcomed by the Archbishop of Colombo, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith.

He knelt and bowed down on the glass-covered tiled floor where the suicide bomber set off the explosives at Easter Mass. The pockmarked area is preserved as a memorial.

Mr Welby is also expected to meet Sri Lanka's PM Ranil Wickremesinghe and preside over a service in an Anglican cathedral in Colombo.

His visit comes a month after Cardinal Ranjith - Sri Lanka's most senior Roman Catholic - called for an independent and transparent commission to investigate the Easter attacks, saying justice had not yet been served.

Sri Lankan leaders and the security establishment are under fire for not acting on near-specific intelligence on possible attacks on churches. Government leaders have acknowledged some intelligence units were aware of possible attacks weeks before the bombings.

President Maithripala Sirisena has said he had been kept in the dark on intelligence about the planned attacks and vowed to "take stern action" against officials who failed to share it. He later appointed a presidential commission to investigate.

Stay up to date with the latest news stories from a Christian perspective. Sign up to our daily newsletter and receive more stories like this straight to your inbox every morning.

Continue the conversation on our Facebook page

A Monthly Gift Of £5 Makes A World Of Difference

In a world of fake news there’s never been a greater need for quality Christian journalism. Premier’s mission is to provide the Church with the most up to date and relevant news, told from a Christian perspective. But we can’t do it without you.

Unlike many websites we haven't put up a paywall — we want to keep our journalism free at the point of need and as open as we can. Premier’s news output takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. No one in the UK is sharing news like we are across radio, magazines and online so please help us to continue that today.

For a monthly gift of £5 or more we’d also be able to send you a free copy of the brand new Premier Bible, a wonderful Anglicised version of the NLT packed with exclusive bonus content, reading plan and resources to help you get the most out of scripture.

Your monthly support will make a world of difference. Thank you.

Set up a monthly gift

Related Articles

Sign up to our newsletter to stay informed with news from a Christian perspective.

Connect

Donate

Donate