Although not much information on this fact is well-known, it is believed that as long ago as the 5th century, there has been a minor community of Christians who entered the island with Persian traders. It is said in history that a small village was set aside for these Christians.
The growth of the religion
While there might be evidence that there were Christians in Sri Lanka in the very early times, the religion truly spread when the Portuguese arrived in the country in the 16th century.
The arrival of the Portuguese
In 1505, a fleet commanded by Lourenço de Almeida was driven to the shores of Colombo by a storm. At the time, the northern part of the island was under the rule of a Tamil king while the southern part of the island was under the rule of 2 Sinhalese kings. Obtaining permission from the King of Kotte, the Portuguese set up trade and a small chapel in Colombo.
Catholicism in Negombo
Negombo today is a multi-religious city in Sri Lanka. Yet, the majority here would be Roman Catholics. The city is often referred to as Little Rome because of its decorative churches such as St. Mary’s Church. A few other popular churches would be St. Stephen’s Church, St. Sebastian’s Church and St. Anthony’s Church.
St. Mary’s Church, Negombo
This is one of the oldest Roman Catholic churches in the country and also one of the largest cathedrals on the island. The church is a work of art that began in 1874 with the combination of European architecture and local art. The church can easily be reached from many Negombo beach hotels the likes of Heritance Negombo.