Saturday, January 2, 2021

St. Anthony's Church, Wahakotte

St. Anthony's Church, Wahakotte
St. Anthony's Shrine is a Roman Catholic church situated in Wahakotte in Matale District, Sri Lanka. It is considered one of the most popular pilgrim places for Catholics in the country.

The church 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.

History
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.) Abeyawardana, 2004]. It is said that there was a fort at that time (Abeyawardana, 2004).

Waha Kotte 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 Waha Kotte and provided facilities to 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 Waha Kotte church donated it a statue of Virgin Mary kept in the Royal Treasure House, which had been earlier in the Bogambara Church (Abeyawardana, 2004).
 
Attribution

References
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.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 3 January 2021
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map

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