Lakshman Wickremasinghe

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The Right Reverend
Lakshman Wickremasinghe
Anglican Bishop of Kurunegala
Church Anglican Church of Ceylon
Diocese Kurunegala
In office 1962 – 1983
Predecessor Lakdasa De Mel
Successor Andrew Kumarage
Ordination 1952
Consecration 1962
by Lakdasa De Mel
Personal details
Born (1927-03-25)25 March 1927
Died 23 October 1983(1983-10-23) (aged 56)
Colombo, Sri Lanka

Lakshman Wickremasinghe (25 March 1927 - 23 October 1983) was one of the youngest bishops in the Anglican Communion and a human rights activist.

Early life and education[edit]

Born on 25 March 1927, he was the third son of Cyril Wickramesinghe[1] of the Ceylon Civil Service and Esme Goonewardene. One of his brothers was the press baron, Esmond Wickramasinghe.

Educated at Royal College, Colombo and S Thomas' Gurutalawa, he achieved the best First in political science from the University of Ceylon, then went to Keble College, Oxford but did not finish his Master's. He then went to theological college at Ely. Following his ordination in 1952 he worked at All Saints Church, Poplar, in the East End of London.


In 1958 he returned to Sri Lanka, where he undertook parish work in Mutuwal for a few years before he became the Chaplain at Peradeniya University. Wickremasinghe was consecrated as Bishop of Kurunegala in the Church of Ceylon at the end of 1962, when he was just 35, the youngest in the Anglican Communion. He was the successor to Lakdasa De Mel who had become Anglican Metropolitan of all four former British colonies, India, Burma, Pakistan (then including East Pakistan, the future Bangladesh), and Ceylon.

Human rights[edit]

He was much involved in human rights activities from 1971 onwards, and became Chairman of the Civil Rights Movement, protesting against the authoritarianism of J.R. Jayawardene's government and in particular its attacks on Tamils. He suffered a heart attack in 1981 and was advised to take things slow and had a year in England, where he was in July 1983 when Black July took place. He returned to Sri Lanka, and was one of the first leaders to go up to Jaffna, but all this caused another heart attack and he died in October that year.

The character of Harry in Rajiva Wijesinha's 1985 novel Acts of Faith is based on him.


External links[edit]

Church of England titles
Preceded by
Lakdasa De Mel
Bishop of Kurunegala
1962 – 1983
Succeeded by
Andrew Kumarage