Lakdasa De Mel

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Right Reverend
Lakdasa Jacob De Mel
Anglican Bishop of Calcutta
Anglican Bishop of Kurunegala
Church Church of India, Pakistan, Burma and Ceylon
Anglican Church of Ceylon
Diocese Calcutta
In office 1962–1970
Successor Lakshman Wickremasinghe
Ordination 1927
Consecration 2 February 1950
by George Hubback
Personal details
Born 24 March 1902
Moratuwa, Sri Lanka
Died 23 October 1976
Kurunegala, Sri Lanka
Previous post Assistant Bishop of Colombo

The Most Rev. Lakdasa Jacob De Mel (1902–1976), MA was the first Bishop of Kurunegala, Sri Lanka and the last Metropolitan Bishop of India, Pakistan, Burma and Ceylon.[1]

Lakdasa De Mel was born on 24 March 1902 in Moratuwa, Sri Lanka, to a prominent Anglican family.[1][2] He was the son of Sir Henry de Mel, former Member of the Legislative Council and Elsie Jayawickrame.[3][4] De Mel was educated at the Royal College Colombo and went on to study at Keble College at the University of Oxford, gaining an MA.[5] De Mel was ordained to a short curacy at St John the Divine, Kennington before returning to Sri Lanka, where he was appointed as the parish priest at St Michael and All Angels Church, Polwatte. For 10 years he was the authority of Missionary of South Sri Lanka’s Baddegama Parish.[5][6] From 1940 he served as the priest at St. Paul's Church, Kandy. As a priest he became one of the pioneers of the indigenisation of the Anglican Church in Sri Lanka. He said his first Mass in Sinhala and sought to integrate local music styles into the service.

De Mel was consecrated as Assistant Bishop of Colombo on 8 November 1945.

In January 1950 the Church of Ceylon resolved to create a new diocese, the Diocese of Kurunegala. The diocese was formally inaugurated on 2 February 1950, on the Feast of the Presentation, with George Hubback, the then Metropolitan of India, Pakistan, Burma and Ceylon, appointing De Mel as the first Bishop of Kurunegala.[7] The formation of this new Diocese was marked by the induction, installation and enthronement of De Mel as the founding Bishop, at Trinity College Chapel, Kandy. He, along with other members of the De Mel family were largely responsible for the funding of the construction of the Cathedral of Christ the King.[8][9]

In May 1962, De Mel was elected as Metropolitan of India, Pakistan, Burma and Ceylon and Bishop of Calcutta, the first Sri Lankan to become an Archbishop of the Anglican Church. He was enthroned on 21 August 1962, at St. Paul's Cathedral, Calcutta. It was a post that he held until his retirement in 1970.

In 1971 he married Joan Hamilton (1921–2009) and at the end of 1972 they moved to live in Kurunegala.

In March 1976 he was diagnosed with lung cancer and he died on 23 October 1976, his ashes were interred in the Cathedral of Christ the King.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ St. Peter's Church, Koralawella: 130 years of dedicated service by W. Annesley Sumith Fernando, Sunday Observer, Retrieved 11 June 2015
  2. ^ Our History, St. Peter's Church Website, Retrieved 11 June 2015
  3. ^ Wright, Arnold. Twentieth Century Impressions of Ceylon. Lloyd's Greater Britain Publishing Company. pp. 570, 578, 596, 598–600, 664–5. ISBN 978-8120613355. 
  4. ^ Allister MacMillan (Ed) (1928). Seaports of India and Ceylon. Asian Educational Services. pp. 439–40. ISBN 978-8120619951. 
  5. ^ a b Rev. Lakdasa de Mel: inspiring legend of Baddegama Archived 2011-06-04 at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ Christ Church, Baddegama Diocese of Colombo. Retrieved 10 February 2016.
  7. ^ The New Diocese of Kurunegala, Holy Emmanuel Church Website
  8. ^ Rev. Abayasekera, Jeffrey (2002). "Bishop Lakdasa De Mel : Called for justice and uplift of poor". Sunday Observer. Retrieved 2 February 2015. 
  9. ^ History of the Diocese of Kuunegala Diocese of Retrieved 2 February 2015
  10. ^ Anglicanism: A Global Communion edited by Andrew Wingate, p.340 (Church Publishing Inc) ISBN 978-0-89869-304-1

External links[edit]

Church of England titles
Preceded by
Bishop of Kurunegala
1950 – 1962
Succeeded by
Lakshman Wickremasinghe
Preceded by
Aurobindo Nath Mukherjee
Bishop of Calcutta
1962 – 1970
Succeeded by
Joseph Amritanand