Archbishop in 'deeply moving' visit to Sri Lankan church bombed by terrorists

Published 29 August 2019  |  
(Photo: Lambeth Palace)
The Archbishop of Canterbury visited a memorial dedicated to victims of the Easter Sunday attacks

The Archbishop of Canterbury has met with survivors and relatives of those killed in the devastating Easter Sunday terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka.

The Most Rev Justin Welby was at St Sebastian's Church in Negombo on Thursday morning where he met the families of Christians killed when suicide bombers attacked a string of churches and hotels in Sri Lanka in April, killing over 200 people.

The Archbishop said it was "deeply moving" to visit the church.

"You are not alone. The Christian community around the world will not forget you. We pray for you. Jesus remains with you," he said in an update to his Twitter account after the visit.

He also visited a memorial with the names of the victims, including a young Muslim woman who had been visiting the church with her best friend.

Later in the day, he went to the Cinammon Grand Hotel, one of several hotels targeted in the attacks.

In another post, he asked that Christians pray for Sri Lanka.

"To be with those of such courage is overwhelming. Please pray with us for a peaceful future for the people of Sri Lanka," he said.

The suicide attacks on April 21 killed 263 people. Over 100 of the victims were killed while attending an Easter Sunday Mass at the Catholic St Sebastian's Church.

The attacks were carried out by terrorists connected to the Islamic State.

Delivering a sermon at St Sebastian's, the Archbishop spoke of the common faith shared by Christians of all denominations.

"When they come to kill us do they ask if we are Anglicans or Pentecost or Presbyterian or Catholic? They ask only if we are Christian," he said.

He also paid tribute to the courage and love of Sri Lankan Christians.

"To come before you, I am almost without words; for I can only say thank you to the Christians of Sri Lanka," he said.

"We know that the Christ who on the cross said 'Father forgive' know our anger, your pain, your sorrow and we know that through his resurrection even that anger and sorrow and pain will be transformed in purity to hope," he said.

The Archbishop is in Sri Lanka on a three-day visit.

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