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The Anuradhapura cross has 5th century history of Christians in Sri Lanka.
|Regions with significant populations|
The Catholic Church in Sri Lanka is part of the worldwide Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the pope in Rome. The country comes under the province of Colombo and is made up of 12 dioceses including one archdiocese. There are approximately 1.2 million Catholics in Sri Lanka representing around 6.1% of the total population (according to the 2012 census).
In 1995, at a ceremony in Colombo, Pope John Paul II beatified Father Joseph Vaz (originally, José Vaz), a Portuguese early missionary to the country, who is known as the Apostle of Ceylon. On 17 September 2014, Pope Francis approved the vote to have him declared a saint. Pope Francis canonized Father Joseph Vaz on Galle Face Green, in Colombo on 14 January 2015.
Records of ancient travelers to Sri Lanka report that a separate area was allocated for Christians in the ancient capital Anuradhapura and there was a Christian chapel used by the Persian merchants who came to Ceylon in around the 5th century. The Persian cross excavated in Anuradhapura belonging to the 5th century and the decorative baptismal pond excavated near Vavuniya prove the presence of Christians in Sri Lanka during the early period of the Anuradhapura Kingdom. Two crosses excavated around Anuradhapura in 1913 are said to be identical to the cross at St Thomas Mount near Chennai.
On 15 November 1505 a Portuguese fleet commanded by Lourenço de Almeida, having been driven by a storm to the shores of Sri Lanka, landed in Colombo. With the permission of the king of Kotte, Dharma Parakramabahu IX, Almeida erected a trade station and a small chapel in Colombo. The chapel was dedicated to St Lawrence. Franciscan Friar Vicente, the chaplain of the fleet, celebrated Mass. This is the first record of a Catholic Mass on Sri Lankan soil. Over the next few centuries, Portuguese, Dutch, and Irish missionaries spread the religion in Sri Lanka, most notably on the western and northwestern coast, where in some places Catholics are half the population.
|Anuradhapura||St. Joseph’s Cathedral, Anuradhapura||Cathedral||Anuradhapura|
|Badulla||St. Mary’s Cathedral||Cathedral||Badulla|
|Batticaloa||St. Mary's Cathedral||Cathedral||Batticaloa|
|Chilaw||St. Mary’s Cathedral, Chilaw||Cathedral||Chilaw|
|Colombo||St. Lucia’s Cathedral||Cathedral & seat of the Archbishop||Colombo|
|Galle||St. Mary’s Cathedral||Cathedral||Galle|
|Jaffna||St. Mary’s Cathedral||Cathedral||Jaffna|
|Kandy||St. Anthony’s Cathedral, Kandy||Cathedral||Kandy|
|Kurunegala||St. Anne’s Cathedral, Kurunegala||Cathedral||Kurunegala|
|Mannar||St. Sebastian’s Cathedral||Cathedral||Mannar|
|Ratnapura||St. Peter and Paul Cathedral, Ratnapura||Cathedral||Ratnapura|
|Trincomalee||St. Mary’s Cathedral, Trincomalee||Cathedral||Trincomalee|
|Colombo||Basilica of Our Lady of Lanka||Shrine & Basilica||Tewatta, Ragama|
|Colombo||St. Anthony’s National Shrine||Shrine & minor Basilica||Colombo|
|Matara||Shrine of Our Lady of Matara||Shrine||Matara|
|Mannar||Shrine of Our Lady of Madhu||Shrine||Madhu|
|Kandy||St. Anthony's Church, Wahakotte||Shrine||Wahakotte|
- "A3 : Population by religion according to districts, 2012". Census of Population & Housing, 2011. Department of Census & Statistics, Sri Lanka.
- "Census of Population and Housing 2011". www.statistics.gov.lk.
-  Zenit News Agency Article
- "Chapter X". lakdiva.org.
- Christmas yesteryear Archived 2007-09-30 at the Wayback Machine Daily News (Sri Lanka) Article