Look how productive I am being today!

Trip Start Jan 08, 2014
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Trip End Apr 09, 2014


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What I did
St. Peter's Anglican Church

Flag of Sri Lanka  ,
Sunday, February 16, 2014

I know I should be keeping this blog up to date a lot better than I am and so to appease certain people that have been chiding me, here is another entry.

Leaving the rather uninspiring Dutch Period Museum, I was thinking that it had not been too good a day one way and another.  I thought a visit to see my "new best friend" Peter in the Seaman's Mission might be what was required so off I set.  I am not sure if I mentioned earlier that it lies on a (now) cul de sac due to security just beyond a rather odd looking Church which, it transpires, was formerly the Governor's residence. 

When I had passed before it had always been locked up despite the protestations of the sign outside that it was open every day.  Well, good news.  As I was walking past the door was open, great stuff.  As I said, it is of a slightly unusual configuration for an Anglican Church but I set to looking about.  Some of you reading this will know that I love looking about old churches and I have an interest in military history and specifically war graves and memorials.  For those new readers, welcome, and I've just told you!

That was the interest for me here.  The Church itself is pretty plain but the memorials were a perfect example of maintaining the Empire over the centuries.  Again, in the interests of not duplicating effort, here is my tip but I should add that all these images will be going to the relevant Regimental Museums on my return home.  Obviously, with the appalling defence cuts over the years, most of these regiments do not exist any more, having been subsumed into units with no history.  A shame really, but I do know how to find the relevant Museums.  It was an interesting place, quiet and airy (I had it to myself) and again I shall let my VT tip suffice.

"You really have to seek out St. Peter's Church in the Fort area of Colombo as it is quite difficult to find. It is, understandably in Church Street sandwiched between the Grand Oriental Hotel and the Flying Angel Club / Mission to Seamen and serves as the seafarers church. It
has the Police Headquarters behind it and the heavily guarded secure zone round the port to the front. It does not even look much like a Church which is not surprising as it was initially a part of the Dutch Governor's residence.

When the British took over the island theyturned it into the garrison Anglican Church. Obviously the garrison is long gone but the Church remains as a place of worship. Although it was first used for divine worship in 1804 it was not officially consecrated until 1821 although it's sacred nature may extend much further back than that as it is thought that the Dutch built here on the previous foundation of a Portuguese chapel.

Should the traveller wish to worship, Holy Communion is celebrated at 1030 on Sunday and 1230 on Wednesday although I am told attendances are very small. This is because
for the 30 years of the war the building was virtually sealed off due to the position it occupies which I mentioned earlier and the congregation drifted off to other churches to avoid the time consuming checks required to enter. The sign outside says it is open daily for private prayer / visiting from 0700 - 1700 daily although I saw it locked up a couple of times during these hours.

When you enter, it is initially not very grand nor well-appointed although it is pleasant and airy enough with a high ceiling and a cooling breeze blowing through it. For me the major interest was the many memorials on the wall. Readers of my other tips will know that I have an interest in military history, graves and memorials and St. Peter's has many
interesting if poignant reminders of the cost through war or far more frequently disease of maintaining the Empire. There are tablets commemorating the dead of many of the regiments garrisoned here and I shall be contacting the relevant Regimental Museums of the successor
Regiments when I return to UK.  I know they like that sort of thing.

Stay tuned, dear reader, I'm on a roll now and there is lot's more to come before the prawns which I fancy for dinner tonight!

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