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Churches of Jaffna

Updated on September 17, 2007
A Church at Mallakam in Jaffna Peninsula.
A Church at Mallakam in Jaffna Peninsula.
A Church in Mylitty, a village in Jaffna
A Church in Mylitty, a village in Jaffna

Jaffna and Christianity

Christianity has been introduced into Jaffna, the capital of Northern Province of Sri Lanka, in mid 16th century. Then Jaffna was the capital of a separate political entity called the Kingdom of Jaffna. Initially it was very difficult for Portuguese to undertake any religious activity in Jaffna as the king and the people of Jaffna strongly resisted it. In 1591 Portuguese captured Jaffna and installed a king of their choice and got the right to do religious work in the kingdom. During this period Portuguese priests constructed few churches, mostly temporary structures. However, they were successful in converting Jaffna people to Christianity only when Portuguese took the kingdom directly under their rule in 1620.

Portuguese built several Catholic Churches all over the Jaffna Peninsula. Sketches of some of these churches are found in books written by Dutch priest Baldeus.

A view of the Dutch church existed within Jaffna fort.
A view of the Dutch church existed within Jaffna fort.

Dutch Rule

Portuguese ruled Jaffna unto 1658. Dutch captured jaffna from them. Dutch who followed Protestantism banned all religious activities of Portuguese who were Catholics. Portuguese churches existed at that time were either converted into the new religion or allowed to become ruins.

Dutch rule in Jaffna lasted about 140 years and they also built several churches in Jaffna, but none of those survived. One of the Dutch churches, which was built within Dutch fort of Jaffna stood there intact till the beginning of 1990s and fell into ruins together with the fort due to heavy fighting around this area.

A Church in Jaffna Town, built during British period.
A Church in Jaffna Town, built during British period.

All the old church buildings in Jaffna at present were built during British rule in Jaffna. British captured Jaffna from Dutch in 1796 and ruled it till 1948. During their period, compared to the previous regimes, the government observed tolerance towards other religions. Several Catholic churches also had been built during this period.

Another Church in Jaffna Town.
Another Church in Jaffna Town.
A Church in Jaffna
A Church in Jaffna
St.James Church, in Jaffna Town.
St.James Church, in Jaffna Town.


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      benny charles 

      7 years ago


      Bro.Ben it is a wonderful job what you're doing. Definately God will give us answers to our prayer and effort to build his kingdom. Keep it up.Hallelujah

      all the praises and glory to lord jesus christ. amen.

    • profile image

      Ben Kanagaratnam 

      7 years ago

      My name is Ben Kanagaratnam, i am a retired civil servant living in Ireland.  I  would like to get in touch with you regarding a project which the Lord has put in my heart, there are few others from different countries  who are taking part in this project.

      The main focus in this project is to meditate and pray the Lord's prayer over the country we are living, and also for the world of Internet technology.

      It will be great if you can join with us, but there is no pressure at all on you to take part in this project. 

      This is an impossible mission, for that very reason I know that God is in it, He is the only one who can do impossible things. I have created a simple website to use as a point of contact for all Christians living in different countries  to come together daily and  pray the Lord's prayer collectively. "One can chase a thousand, two can chase ten thousand".  There is strength in numbers.  

       The website is called World Praying Community.

      URL is www.worldprayingcommunity.


      World  praying community is calling for Christians all around the world to visit the website and pray daily the Lord's  prayer, Internet is used by millions of people for different reasons, some are good, and others are for wrong reasons. WPC website is used as a point of contact to pray the Lord's prayer. 

       We are praying for God's Kingdom to rule over the Internet and deliver innocent people who are tempted through this modern weapon the enemy is using to keep in captive the minds of millions and millions of people all over the world. 

      Internet  is a death trap for millions of innocent people, some of them have become bondage to carnal desires because of the Internet, where information are so easily available to destroy the purity of the mind. 

      What we as Christians are doing when the enemy is using such a powerful weapon to keep  us as prisoners in his kingdom?

      The power of data is tremendous, through the web we are able to read documents, process data which helps us in predicting events, diseases, help to make decisions, these are all good sides of using the Internet, but behind all these the enemy is trapping millions of weak people who are unable to resist the temptations to sin in using the Internet.


      We pray that more christians will see what is happening in the spiritual world regarding the WEB , and its evil influence in the minds of innocent people all over the world. 

       We are seeking the Lord every day to deliver the innocent and weak people. Please pray that God will add to WPC Christians who have the same vision, and this mission will not be a burden, we have to have the passion to see that the Kingdom of God rule over the World Wide Web.

      Do not delay, join the world praying community, become an active partner  in working for Jesus.

      World Praying Community



    • profile image


      10 years ago

      The church called Periamatha kovil during my studenthood period in ST' PATRICK's we had gone often.The Golden period will i taste it again?


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