Posted on August 10th, 2009

By Walter Jayawardhana

The Most Reverend Dr. Malcolm Ranjith, the ninth Roman Catholic Archbishop of Sri Lanka is a distinguished cleric who has done everything possible to keep the image of Sri Lanka at its peak, said President Mahinda Rajapaksa at a felicitation ceremony held in honor of the newly appointed Archbishop.

Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith and MR 1 (2)Photos: by Chandana Prerera

The well attended ceremony by leading Buddhist clerics, VIP’s of the government and the opposition and religious diginitaries of other denominations was held at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall according to national traditions.

MRnCBKPhotos: by Chandana Prerera

 Among the distinguished gathering were retiring Archbishop the Most Reverend Owald Gomis, former President Chandrika Kumaratunga, Opposition leader Ranil Wickramasinghe, Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga and Chief Justice Asoka De Silva.

 The Catholics of Sri Lanka will be able to celebrate the coming Christmas in a new Sri Lanka under one flag where terrorism has been totally eliminated,” President Rajapaksa further addressing the ceremony said.

 He said today all Sri Lankans could live in a new country where terrorists do not dictate terms. The President reminded that only few months ago Catholic pilgrims were compelled to pay an illegal toll to use the road to go to the sacred church of Madhu and the sorry state has been changed due to the heroic feat of our armed forces. He said the terrorists put up military bunkers around the church in the church premises.

 The President reminded the biblical proverb from the Book of Mathew, “Those who live by the sword die by the sword,” and said Christianity is a non-violent religion. He said by militarization of the holy church premises by the terrorists Christianity was openly insulted.

Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith lighting the lampPhotos: by Chandana Prerera

The President said the armed forces of Sri Lanka while rescuing the Madhu church did not even harm a single tile of the church.

He also said, not only Madhu, the armed services did not harm any other church or temple during the humanitarian mission the armed services undertook to liberate the country.

 The President said the government is involved in the noble task of uniting all races and religions of the country under one flag. There is a special reason why Catholics will be able to celebrate a merrier Christmas this time. They will be celebrating in a free country, the President said.

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