A Statement from Dean Markham on the Easter Day bombings in Sri Lanka

Virginia Theological Seminary has a deep connection with Sri Lanka. We have two students studying with us; we have received guests from the Church of Ceylon for sabbaticals. We have grown to love the country, the church, and the people.

The death toll is rising. Three hundred fifty-nine people have died and 500 people were injured as a result of a series of bomb attacks on churches and hotels in Colombo on Easter morning. Two other bombs were either detonated or diffused on Sunday and Monday evening.

Christians make up about 7% of the over 20 million people of Sri Lanka but their testimony this Easter, amidst terror and death, belied their numbers.

The three churches attacked were Roman Catholic. Calling for justice and an impartial inquiry, Archbishop of Colombo, the Most Rev. Malcolm Ranjith called for prayer and for all to maintain peace, even amidst fear of further attacks.

Friend of Virginia Seminary and the Center for Anglican Communion Studies the Rt. Rev. Dhiloraj Canagasabey, the Anglican Bishop of Colombo, remained defiant in the face of this terror and threat. “If God wills that I live, I shall live. If God wills that I die, I shall die.” Reflecting on the scene of Good Friday and the crucified Christ’s prayer of forgiveness from the cross, Bishop Dhiloraj called for justice, for repentance from the perpetrators, and prayed for the blessing of Christ’s peace on all citizens.

Part of our understanding of what it means to be catholic Christians is to take seriously the joys and challenges of our Anglican Communion. It is our honor to have two students from Sri Lanka in our student body. This Easter, we stand in solidarity with them and the suffering Church throughout the world.

The Very Rev. Ian S. Markham, Ph.D.
Dean and President
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