Holy Father calls for unity of the Church
His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI received His Holiness Karekin II
Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians. He then met with the
bishops in the patriarch's delegation who were from many diverse
At noon in the Clementine Hall, the Holy Father presided over the
celebration of the Middle Hour (hora media), which was attended by
Karekin II, the Armenian bishops, and a group of faithful apostolic
Armenians from a number of countries in the East and West.
After the Patriarch's greeting, the Pope addressing the assembly
affirmed that, on this day, "we will pray in a particular way for the
unity of the Church. If our hearts and minds are open to the Spirit of
communion, God can work miracles again in the Church, restoring the
bonds of unity.
Striving for Christian unity is an act of obedient trust in the work
of the Holy Spirit, who leads the Church to the full realization of the
Father's plan, in conformity with the will of Christ".
Continuing, the Holy Father pointed out that "the recent history of
the Armenian Apostolic Church has been written in the contrasting
colours of persecution and martyrdom, darkness and hope, humiliation and
However, he added, "the restoration of freedom to the Church in
Armenia has been a source of great joy for us all. An immense task of
rebuilding the Church has been laid on your shoulders," mentioning the
"remarkable pastoral results that have been achieved in such a short
"Thanks to your pastoral leadership," the Pope assured, "the glorious
light of Christ shines again in Armenia and the saving words of the
Gospel can be heard once more. Of course, you are still facing many
challenges on social, cultural, and spiritual levels.
In this regard," he added, "I must mention the recent difficulties
suffered by the people of Armenia, and I express the prayerful support
of the Catholic Church in their search for justice and peace and the
promotion of the common good".
The Holy Father emphasised that in ecumenical dialogue "important
progress has been made in clarifying the doctrinal controversies that
have traditionally divided us, particularly over questions of
During the last five years, much has been achieved by the Joint
Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the
Oriental Orthodox Churches, of which the Catholicosate of All Armenians
is a full member".
In conclusion, the Holy Father added that "we pray that its activity
will bring us closer to full and visible communion, and that the day
will come when our unity in faith makes possible a common celebration of
VATICAN CITY (VIS)
St. Anthony's College, Kandy celebrates 154 years
This year the premier boys Catholic school in Kandy celebrates 154
years since its establishment in 1854. St. Anthony's College, Kandy is
the citadel of the OSB fathers who have been administering the school
for many years.
St. Anthony’s College, Kandy
These fathers belonging to the order of St. Benedict are the
eponymous adherents of the Catholic faith where at present its leader is
the Pope Benedict XVI, the Holy Father in Rome.
It was in November 1853 when Fr. Felice Zoppi, a Franciscan priest
from the Chinese missionary field was sent to Kandy that the idea of
setting up a school was kindled. Fr. Zoppi promptly set about his task
by opening a school for boys and one for girls at the house where he
On 12th March 1854 the schools were officially acknowledged by Fr.
Zoppis superior in Colombo, Monsignor Joseph Maria Bravi OSB. This was
the birth of St. Anthony's Boys School.
In 1875 Fr. Dom Hildebrand Vanderstraaten OSB was installed as
Principal marking the entrusting of the administration and management of
the school to the Benedictine monks.
The present Principal is Fr. Titus Rodrigo who took over from Fr.
Hilarion Fernando OSB under whose stewardship St. Anthony's College,
Kandy celebrated its 150 years anniversary four years ago. A boarding
was introduced to the College in 1876. Then the college was situated
near St. Anthony's cathedral in the midst of the Kandy town.
The Antonian cricket teams of subsequent years produced some of the
most exciting schoolboy cricketers with Wijepala Premaratne being
adjudged the 1st all Ceylon schoolboy cricketer in 1956 and Charlie
Joseph another cricketer of St. Anthony's too achieving the same for two
years subsequently. In 1956 St. Antony's introduced Rugby football, the
first captain being Bruce Winter.
Later on St. Antony's College produced the bowling spinning trio who
played for the national cricket team in Muttiah Muralitharan, Ruwan
Kalpage and Piyal Wijetunga. Muralitharan the pride of St. Anthony's
College who plays for the current national cricket team has gone on to
become the bowling legend of the cricketing world with a haul of over
700 Test wickets, a continuing world record.
The legendary cricketers such as A.C.M. Lafir, Mahesh Gunatilake, Ben
Navaratne all who played cricket for the national team were Antonian
cricketers. Why this school was dedicated to St. Anthony specially,
remains a mystery in the annals of history.
Easter Plays: Origin and Development
The variety characteristic of the colourful liturgical rituals of the
Catholic Church after the end of the period of Persecution in the early
part of the 4th century AD. offered fertile ground for the development
of dramatic representations of the basic tenets of Christian beliefs
especially the Birth, Suffering, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
During the fifth century, stories from the Bible were enacted in the
Church in live tableaux with singing or chanting. There is evidence to
show that sometime before the tenth century certain playlets were
emerging out of the growing embellishment and elaborations (tropes) in
the liturgy of the Church.
Poetry, music and sacred texts were blended especially during the
celebration of the Holy Mass at Christmas and Easter. During the divine
services priests mimed representations of the birth of Jesus and the
three women (all with the name of Mary) who went to the Sepulchre where
Jesus was buried, while the choir sang antiphonies. In addition to the
usual dialogue between the celebrant and the rest of the congregation
including the choir, the text of the Gospel offered enough opportunities
for theatre and drama.
In the tenth century, one comes across a verse (trope) sung as
entrance hymn for Holy Mass on Easter Sunday. It was in the form of
questions and answers and began with "quem quaeritis in sepulchro, o
christicolae, Jesum Nazarenum, o coelicolae...". It is in Latin and
means, "whom seek ye, oh Christians, Jesus the Nazarene, oh celestials".
This was a dialogue between the angels and the three Marys.
The verse continues with the news that Jesus had risen and that they
had to go and announce this. This concept was gradually connected with
the Descent from the cross and there followed an elaborate dramatic
scene. On Good Friday, after the usual services, a crucifix was placed
at a spot representing the grave of Jesus near the altar.
On Ester Sunday morning, after the recital of the official morning
prayers, one or two sacred ministers (clerics) wearing long white
vestment (alb) carried palms to the place where the crucifix was earlier
placed and sat down there.
Three other ministers, representing the three women (Mary) and
wearing long cloak-like vestment (cope), carried small vessels in which
incense is burnt, joined them. Upon their arrival at the spot, the
question was posed: whom seek ye? The three answered: Jesus of Nazareth.
They were told then: he is not here; he is risen as he had foretold.
Hence, (go and) announce that he has risen from the grave. They then
intoned, "He has risen, as the Lord had said. Alleluia" This was
followed by the classic Thanksgiving Hymn., Te deum laudamus (We priase
This simple dramatic acting and singing was elaborated by many texts
from the Bible, hymns (especially, Victimae Pascali) and few extra
scenes such as John and Peter running to the grave and the appearance of
the risen Christ.
By the eleventh century, the singing during the sacred services began
to be accompanied by short dialogues. Some biblical stories such as the
Fall of man, Daniel in lion's den and death and resurrection of Jesus,
among others, were acted out in the Church by priests.
These "performances" were called liturgical plays and in course of
time they became more elaborate, lavish and popular. At this point, not
only Latin but even the vernacular was used and the performers were not
only priests but also the common people.
Already in the thirteenth century the short chanted Easter drama
contained elements of theatre and drama such as: dialogue in prose and
poetry, different actions performed by different sacred ministers and
the accompaniment of rich music led by the choir.
It was widely believed that this dramatized liturgy served better the
purpose of presenting the story of Easter by appealing to the senses
than by mere delivering of sermons.
According to one authority, there were in all 224 Easter Plays, most
of which were found in Germany and the rest in France, Italy, Spain,
Holland and England. As these plays became popular, priests added new
scenes, some very imaginative such as the character of Pilate, of
soldiers guarding the sepulcher and of an ointment-vendor bargaining
with the three women (Mary) to sell his product.
As these plays became more and more attuned to the popular
expectations of worldly entertainment and amusement, it became necessary
to separate these from the divine services held in the church.
There exist fragments of two Latin Easter plays: the first in the
monastery of Benedictbeurn and the second in that of Klosterneuburg.
In the Easter Play of Trier, German translations were added to the
original texts in Latin and in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries,
Easter Plays came to be written entirely in German. Strolling players
who popularized this play, brought in other mundane characters: a
servant and an ointment vendor who also entertained the people with
crude and cheap jests. Thus Easter Play in Latin and German existed
side-by-side, both seemingly under the control of priests.
During this lengthy period of changes, two important developments
were taking place. People were thirsting to hear and meditate on the
suffering and death of Christ. Having this as its main subject, Passion
Plays started to enter the arena of world theatre progressively as a
theatrical presentation standing on its own merit.
It is recorded that the first Passion Play was performed around 1200
AD at Sienna in Italy. In 1244 AD, both plays, the Passion and the
Resurrection, were performed together at Padua in Italy.
Hardly one hears of a major production of Resurrection play in Sri
Lanka. Thus it is interesting to document that in 1970, in the parish of
Urumpiray in the diocese of Jaffna, a Resurrection Play called
"Truth-Conqueror of Death" (Cavai venra Cattiyan) was staged by the
Centre for Performing Arts with a cast of nearly one hundred and fifty
actors and a few dozens of musicians, technicians and helpers.
It was in fact a sequel to a Passion Play held on Palm Sunday a week
earlier on the same stage.
The full story of Jesus after his resurrection till the descent of
the Holy Spirit was acted out in three acts with thirteen scenes lasting
nearly three hours. It was performed on a massive stage extending to
more than fifty metres in length with a lofty balcony for Pilate.
Artistes of CP Arts used huge settings to give the audience the feeling
of being in the city of Jerusalem.
The haunting music and the meaningful songs evoked emotions of wonder
and admiration at the flow of the events in the story of the risen
Though it was performed only once, more than seven thousand
spectators were present for the play.
One many say in sum that even in Sri Lanka, Easter Plays down the
centuries have left their imprints.
Centenary celebrations of Christian Reformed Church, Dehiwela
The Christian Reformed Church (formerly Dutch Reformed Church) at
Station Road, Dehiwela commemorates the centenary of its Ministry on May
Christian Reformed Church, Dehiwela
It all began with a request for private Communion. Early in 1908, the
Revd. David Tweed was called upon to administer private Communion to the
aged mother of Dr. Collin Rodrigo at 'Carlyn House', Station Road,
Dehiwela. Due to unforseen circumstances, Revd.
Tweed was prevented from going and arranged for the Revd. William
Sinclair to go instead. From this visit originated the idea of starting
ministry in the Dehiwela area. Both Revd. Sinclair and Dr. Rodrigo
visited nearly 80 homes within the Dehiwela area and were well received.
So much so, that arrangements were made to conduct a service on Sunday
the 31st of May, 1908 at the residence of Dr. Rodrigo.
A few weeks later, feeling the need for music to enhance the worship,
the venue was shifted to the residence of Mr. J. Martin Foenander at
'Sunbeam Lodge', Gregory Place, Dehiwela. Worship services were
conducted by the Rev. Sinclair, Mr. J. C. Jansz and Mr. Linden de Zilwa.
In its early days, the Church at Dehiwela was known as the 'Mission
Hall' and came under the supervision of the Wolvendhal Local Consistory.
A special committee was appointed by this Consistory to supervise the
work and comprised the Revd David Tweed, the Rev. William Sinclair, the
Revd L. A. Joseph and Mr. P. D. A. Mack. The Sunday School which also
had its origin at the same time - met at the residence of Mr. J. M.
Foenander at 2.45 p.m. with Mr. Linden de Zilwa as the first
Superintendent. He was assisted by Miss Hilda VanderWert, Miss Hetty
Collette, Miss Cora Foenander and Mr. Eveyln Mack.
Enthusiasm was so great that members began to think in terms of a day
school to cater to the needs of the children in the area. The initiative
was taken by Miss Cora Foenander and in November, 1908, a school of
small proportions was started in the home of Mr. J. M. Foenander.
Thus in one place, there as a church, Sunday school and day school.
In 1909, the Consistory obtained the use of the land belonging to Mr. W.
C. Bastiansz on Station Road and put up a cadjan structure to house the
school, which had grown in numbers.
Within five years another move was made to a similar building on a
land purchased by the General Consistory. This Mission hall continued to
serve for worship services, Sunday school and day school sessions, till
a more suitable hall was constructed in 1915. In 1917 a free Sinhala day
school was started by the Revd Alan Vandergert.
A house for the resident Pastor was purchased in 1919 and served as
the 'Manse' till 1972, when part of this property was sold to the
A new 'Manse' was erected in the remaining property in 1975. In 1927,
through the enthusiastic and energetic efforts of the Revd Abraham de
Klerk (a young Minister/Missionary from the Dutch Reformed Church in
South Africa), building funds were collected, which resulted in the
construction of the present edifice.
The dedication service was to take place on the 7th of May 1927, but
in the hour of his triumph, Revd De Klerk fell ill and passed away on
the 15th of May, 1927. He was only 27 years old. The dedication service
finally took place on the 2nd of June, 1927. In South Africa, this
Church is affectionately referred to as the 'De Klerk Church'.
Four storeyed building for De Mazenod silver jubilee
A four storied building was constructed at a cost of Rs. 40 million
to mark the Silver Jubilee of De Mazenod College, Kandana. Chief Guest,
Vice. General of the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools,
Rev. Brother Thomas Johnson (fsc) opened the new building and is seen
here cutting the ribbon.
Rev. Brother Thomas Johnson (fsc) opens the new building.
General Councillors, Rev. Brother David Hawke (fsc), Rev. Brother
Jorge Gellardo (fsc) from overseas, Provincial visitor of the La Sallian
Brothers of Sri Lanka, Rev Brother Henry Dissanayake and Rev. Brother
Bertram Perera, Rector of the College are also in the picture.
"Computer Technology is a vital requirement in today's world and to
provide this necessity to the school is a cause for joy. It is your duty
to see that children are brought up as good citizens in this beautiful
Sri Lanka; said the Chief Guest addressing the gathering at the opening
He further stated that" happy to be invited to grace this historic
occasion in Sri Lanka. Today happens to be the Birthday of Saint John de
Baptist Lasalle. I am very happy to observe OMI Fathers and La Sallian
Brothers working together in harmony. I am also thankful to all those
who worked tirelessly to achieve this goal", he said.
"The building of the Institute of Higher Private Education was
erected by the Management of La Sallian Brothers to commemorate the
Silver Jubilee and was officially declared open today", said the College
Rector, Rev. Br. Bertram Perera addressing the gathering.
He also said that all the educational needs could be fulfilled under
this roof, and that they had made arrangements to cater to the children
with all modern technology.
He conveyed his thanks and appreciation to the old boys for their
untiring efforts, Dudley Vaas Associates and Isuru Constructors for
their support, and also Rev. Brother Denzil Perera, Principal of the
Primary Section; Rev. Brother Conson Johnson, General of the Christian
Schools in the Asia Pacific Ocean who is a frequent visitor to Sri
Lanka, Rev. Brother David Hawke and Jorge Gellardo who are great
benefactors and also to Rev. Fr. Romould Fernando (OMI) who initiated to
transfer the school which was operating elsewhere, to the present
location, with 300 students on-roll.
From there onwards college progressed gradually in all fields
including sports and is now among one of the Leading Colleges in the
Island. Rev. Brother Henry Dissanayake, Camillus Silva also addressed
May Day Holy
Mass at ANCL
Rev. Fr. Derinton Subasinha, Lecturer, St. Aloysius Seminary
celebrates the Holy Mass. Prasad Polwatta, DGM Finance and
representatives from ANCL Buddhist and Hindu Societies also