CHRISTIAN CHURCH TOUR SRI LANKA (9 NIGHTS / 10 DAYS)

ST.ANTHONY'S CHURCH - KOCHCHIKADE

In Sri Lanka St. Anthony’s has many devotees and several churches have been erected in his honor. Perhaps the most popular one that daily attracts people of every cast, creed or race is the one at Kochchikade, in the heart of the city of Colombo.

The history of this church at Kochchikade handed down by tradition and gleaned from the documents preserved in the Archdiocesan. The little chapel which was made of mud was enlarged in 1806. And in 1822 one of the members of the Congregation went to GOA and brought a statue of St. Anthony’s and it was solemnly placed on the altar of the small church. This is the very image that is to day held great veneration at St. Anthony’s church, Kochchikade and the side altar on which it rests, is the altar of the ancient church and stands on the very spot Sanctified by miraculous event to which the origin of the same sanctuary is due.

Soon after the arrival of the statue of St.Anthony the work of building of a large church commenced and the church was completed in 1828. The blessing of the new church took place on Sun the 01st Jun 1834, presided over by the Vicar General Very Rev. Fr. Caetano Antonio In keeping with the new Liturgy, the main altar has now been re-adjusted to enable Holy Mass to be said facing the people and blessed sacrament is now reserved on a special altar on the left wing. The church now has a new appearance with its terrazzo flooring.

The miraculous statue of St. Anthony at side altar has now been installed in a bullet proof glass case to ensure its protection and safety. And iron safe has been installed beneath the statue.

DUTCH CHURCH - COLOMBO

Dutch Reformed Church was introduced to Sri Lanka by the VOC with its first church ministrations held in Galle on 6th October, 1642, almost 360 years ago. Its consistory in Colombo was established in 1658 marking the beginning of protestant church or what they called 'True Christian Reformed Church' subsequently, church councils were formed in Colombo, Galle and Jaffna stationing several Dutch predicants to commence proselytizing activities.

The Wolvendaal Church is the oldest Protestant Church in use in Sri Lanka. It celebrates its 253rd anniversary this year. The name of the church derived from the place name Wolvendaal. Christianity was introduced into The Netherlands between 700 and 750 AD. Later at the time of the renaissance in Europe, the teachings of the French theologian, Jean Calvin (1509-1564) greatly influenced Christianity in The Netherlands. The Dutch as a dynamic nation preferred the freedom and realistic outlook of Calvinism that orthodox Christianity. The teachings of Calvin influenced the Dutch as a trading nation with 'love of gain'. Prof. C.R. Boxer asserts that the Calvinism was the main driving force in the Dutch commercial expansion and cultural flowering which were marked features of the 17th century scene.'

RAGAMA TEWATTA CHURCH

The origins of this shrine date back to the beginning of this Century, when a little shrine to Our Lady of Lourdes (a little Chapel) was erected by a few Catholic laymen and Father A. Kieger OMI, in 1911, the area being then a part of the parish of Ragama. On 11 November 1917 Father A. Collorec OMI built a small Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes assisted by some Catholic workers from Colombo. The Chapel was later enlarged to accommodate the increasing number of pilgrims, and in the 1930's the side of the Church built a large Grotto to Our Lady of Lourdes. The Church and Shrine with the "Holy Well" by its side gradually became a place of pilgrimage to the Catholics of Colombo Archdiocese.

When the War was declared in 1939, this Shrine gained prominence because of a Vow that the then Archbishop of Colombo, Mgr. Jean Marie Masson OMI, made to Our Lady (26 may 1940), that if Ceylon was spared the horrors of War, he would build a Votive Shrine in her honour under the title of Our Lady of Lanka. The mantle of fulfilling this vow and building the votive Shrine (later declared a Minor Basilica by the Holy Father), fell on this shoulders of his successor, Archbishop Cooray, (later His Eminence Thomas Cardinal Cooray OMI). The construction of the edifice was completed in 1974. The Holy Father Pope Paul VI endowed the Church with the title of a Minor Basilica in 1973. The Basilica was consecrated on 6 February 1974 and Our Lady crowned as Our Lady of Lanka the same day.

The new Grotto to Our Lady of Lourdes, quarried into a huge rock was completed in 1959, and blessed by the Most Rev. James R. Knox, the Apostolic Delegate for Ceylon, on 11 February 1959 (later Cardinal Knox)

WAHAKOTTE CHURCH

The annual feast of historic Wahakotte Church will be held on June 17th with a festive high mass celebrated by Rt. Rev. Dr. Vianney Fernando, Bishop of Kandy.

The Routes to Wahakotte - St. Anthony’s church at Wahakotte is one of the most sacred shrines for catholics in Sri Lanka. This historic church is situated in Udugoda Palelsiya Pattuwa, to the North-West of Matale district, four miles from Galewela town on Matale-Galewela main rod.

It is about 140 Km from Colombo, through Warakapola-Kurunegala, Galewela and Wahakotte. From Kandy it is about 55 km via Matale-Palapathwela and Wahakotte, and from Negambo it is about 130 km. through Kurunegala-Galewela and Wahakotte. From Chilaw it is about 120 km along Kurunegala-Galewela and Wahakotte.

History - Wahakotte was known as “Wasala-Kotte” – Castle in the Fort. It is believed that there was a palace and a fort, where the present church is situated, the village was so called, because it protected the palace, traces of which are still visible. There is another legend to say that “Waha”-poison; “Kotte” – pillow; means poisonous pollow because a queen had committed suicide after hearing of her husband’s death at war.

History records that when king Dutugemunu defeated king Elara, in 164 B.C. he had built a small fortress at Wahakotte. There are still some ruins of ancient buildings on a rocky-hill called “Maligatenna” – Palace-field.

DAY 01 (Airport - Mount Lavinia)

Arrival at the Colombo Bandaranaike International Airport, Sri Lanka, the tropical paradise, will be met and assisted by representative of Crystal Holidays and transfer to Colombo

Afternoon visit the St’ Anthony’s Church in Colombo & Dutch Church of Wolfe dhal dating back to 1749.

Dinner and Over Night stay at Mount Lavinia Hotel, Mount Lavinia

DAY 02 (Mount Lavinia - Colombo - Mount Lavnina)

After breakfast visit Ragama Tewatta Church

Sightseeing & Shopping Tour in Colombo

Dinner and Over Night stay at Mount Lavinia Hotel, Mount Lavinia

DAY 03 (Mount Lavinia - Sigiriya)

After breakfast proceed to Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage, to watch baby elephants being fed and over 40 elephants being bathed in the nearby river

Afternoon visit the Wahakotte Church Galewela and transfer to Sigiriya

Dinner and Over Night stay at Amaya Lake, Dambulla

DAY 04 (Sigiriya - Polonnaruwa - Sigiriya)

After breakfast excursion to World Heritage Site Polonnaruwa, home to some of medieval Sri Lanka’s finest art and architecture, including the giant Buddha statues of the Gal Vihara.

Visit the wonderful ancient relics at Polonnaruwa

On completion visit Wood Carving Center and evening return to hotel

Dinner and Over Night stay at Amaya Lake, Dambulla

DAY 05 (Sigiriya - Kandy)

After breakfast climb the Sigiriya Rock Fortress the World Heritage Site and see the famous decorated its sides with colorful frescoes

Leave to Kandy via Dambulla

Visit the Dambulla Rock Cave Temple crammed with Buddhist statues and decorated with Sri Lanka’s finest murals

Dinner and Over Night stay at Amaya Hills, Kandy

DAY 06 (Kandy)

After Breakfast visit Royal Botanical Garden in Peradeniya, which is a paradise for nature lovers

Visit the St’ Anthony’s Church in Kandy

On return Sightseeing & Shopping Tour in Kandy, visit Upper Lake, Gem Museum etc.,

Visit wonderful Buddhist Temple of the Tooth Relic and also witness a Cultural Dance performance

Dinner and Over Night stay at Amaya Hills, Kandy

DAY 07 (Kandy - Nuwaraeliya)

After breakfast proceeds to Nuwara Eliya, is one of the most scenic city & Little England of Sri Lanka

On the way visit a working Tea Factory and drive up through the hills through lush and green Tea Plantations

Evening visit the St. Xavier and Holy Trinity Churches in Nuwara Eliya

Dinner and Over Night stay at Araliya Green Hills, Nuwara Eliya

DAY 08 (Nuwaraeliya - Mount Lavinia)

After breakfast transfer to Colombo via Kitulgala.

En route stop for a while to view the magnificent bridge that is world famous for the filming of Bridge on the River Kwai. See the rapid waters gush along the Kelani river valley.

Dinner and Over Night stay at Mount Lavinia Hotel, Mount Lavinia.

DAY 09 (Mount Lavinia - Bentota - Galle)

After breakfast excursion to Galle

Visit the 17th century Galle Dutch fort, a world UNESCO heritage site & start sightseeing tour of Galle

Visit Hiniduma-Kalvariya Church & Galle Dutch Church built at the Fortress.

On the way visit the world famous Kalutara Temple, Turtle Hatchery at Kosgoda and the famous Beach in Bentota, also visit famous Wood carvings at Ambalangoda and further visit to Hikkaduwa, option to sea corals in a Glass bottom boat.

DAY 10 (Mount Lavinia - Bentota - Airport)

After breakfast proceeds to Bandaranaike International Airport for departure.

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