Christianity was propagated in Sri Lanka by the invasion of the Portuguese in the 16th century. The spread of Catholicism was epicentred around Negombo. Here’s how St. Mary’s Church factors in.
Early Catholicism in Sri Lanka
There is prior evidence that Christianity may have existed prior to the introduction of Catholicism by the Portuguese. But on the 15th of November 1505, a Portuguese fleet was driven ashore by a storm, landing in Sri Lanka. They were welcomed by the Sri Lankan king and given permission to establish a small trade station.
Persecution by the Dutch
After the arrival of the Dutch in the 17th century, Catholics in Sri Lanka suffered a lot of persecution as Catholicism was outlawed by the Dutch and many churches were destroyed and Protestant churches built in their place.
When the British took control, they restored religious freedom and the Catholics who’d once hidden and conducted masses in secret locations were once again practising out in the open.
Catholicism in Negombo
Negombo is a multi-religious city which was the birthplace of Catholicism in Sri Lanka. So if you are staying at a Negombo beach hotel the likes of Heritance Negombo and are interested in learning more, Negombo is the best place to start.
A Religious Landmark
St. Mary’s Church is situated in the centre of the town and is one of the largest cathedrals in the country. It was constructed in 1874.