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Death of former Bishop Swithin Fernando

Former Bishop of the Diocese of Colombo, Church of Ceylon, Swithin Fernando has passed away.

Bishop Swithin had his education at Prince of Wales, Moratuwa and prepared for the priesthood at the Divinity School, Colombo. He was ordained as a Deacon in December 1942 and a Priest in 1944. He began his ministry as an assistant Priest in Kandy and served later at All Saints Church, Galle at the Baddegama Mission and as Vicar at St. Andrew’s Church Gampola, St. Luke’s Church Borella and St. Michael’s, Polwatte. He was married to Gwen de Zilva and they were blessed with their only son John.

Bishop Swithin together with Rev. Gorge Jirasinghe began the whole process of indigenization initiated by the late Rt. Rev. Lakadas de Mel. He also introduced the use of the Ceylon Liturgy to the Deva Surya Sena setting based on indigenous music and the Anglican Church sank its roots into Sri Lankan culture.

Bishop Swithin was ecumenical in outlook and promoted closer relationship with other denominations of the church. He was a protagonist of the Church Union Movement in the 1960’s and 1970’s

He was well known for his untiring efforts to forge better understanding with leaders of other religions as well, and carefully cultivated friendships he made with them.

He had a knack for making friends with the common man, wherever he served. He was made the Archdeacon of Colombo in 1971 and consecrated Bishop of Colombo in January 1978. He retired in 1987 and after a brief stay in Australia, he came back to spend the evening of his life in his beloved motherland.

His wife predeceased him. His son John and daughter-in-law Sonia Fernando have done all and more to make him comfortable and happy.

Bishop Swithin was a true disciple of Jesus Christ.

All through the years Bishop Swithin’s personal friendship has meant much to many "His heart was hid with Christ in God"

His remains lie at his residence within the Cathedral premises from 10 a.m. on Saturday, December 5, thereafter at the Cathedral of Christ the Living Saviour, Bauddhaloka Mawatha, Colombo 7 from 10.am. on Sunday, 6th.

The funeral service will take place at 4.00 p.m. and cremation at 5.30 p.m. at the General Cemetery, Kanatte.

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