St Anthony’s Church

sights / Religious

St Anthony’s Church information

Colombo , Sri Lanka
St Anthony’s Mawatha
Col 13
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One of the city’s most interesting shrines is St Anthony’s Church. Outside it looks like a typical Portuguese Catholic church, but inside the atmosphere is distinctly subcontinental. There are queues of devotees offering puja (offerings or prayers) to a dozen ornate statues; a statue of St Anthony said to be endowed with miraculous qualities is the centre of devotions from people of many faiths.

Mothers often bring pubescent daughters here to pray for protection from evil spirits that might take advantage of the girls’ nascent sexuality. The current church is built on the sight of an 18th-century chapel that was a mud hut. Photography is frowned upon.