St. Anthony's Church (Wahakotte)

Dedicated to St. Anthony, Waha Kotte is said to be the place where the crowning of the first Christian monarch of the country was taken place.
St. Anthony's Church, Wahakotte
St. Anthony's Shrine (Sinhala: වහකෝට්ටේ ශාන්ත අන්තෝනි දේවස්ථානය; Tamil: புனித அந்தோனியார் கோயில், வககோட்டை) is a Roman Catholic church situated in Wahakotte in Matale District, Sri Lanka. It is dedicated to St. Anthony who is a catholic saint born in 1195 in Lisbon, Portugal and died in Padua, Italy on 13 June 1231. Catholics celebrate his "feast" on this day.

Waha Kotte is thought to be evolved from "Wasala Kotte" which means "the Mansion in the Fort" (Abeyawardana, 2004). The history of this site is linked with the period of King Dutugemunu (161-137 B.C.) and it is said that there was a fort at that time (Abeyawardana, 2004).

Wahakotte is said to be the place where the crowning of the first Christian monarch of the country was taken place (Abeyawardana, 2004). During the 17th century, it served as a settlement of Portuguese Catholics who escaped from the religious persecution of the Dutch who were Protestant Christians (Abeyawardana, 2004). King Rajasinghe II (1629-1687 A.D.) settled the Portuguese prisoners of war at Wahakotte and provided facilities for them to practice their religion (Abeyawardana, 2004). Rev. Juse Vaz, who arrived in Sri Lanka in 1687, helped the Catholics secretly to practice their religion (Abeyawardana, 2004). The first Sinhala Catholic priest is said to have received his ordination at Waha Kotte (Abeyawardana, 2004).

King Kirti Sri Rajasinghe (1747-1782 A.D.) who patronized the Wahakotte church donated a statue of the Virgin Mary kept in the Royal Treasure House, which had been earlier in the Bogambara Church (Abeyawardana, 2004).


1) Abeyawardana, H.A.P., 2004. Heritage of Kandurata: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Colombo: The Central Bank of Sri Lanka. pp.317-318.

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This page was last updated on 14 April 2022

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