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Center for sacred art opens in Sri Lanka

Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith of Colombo said art brings people closer to God

Center for sacred art opens in Sri Lanka

A cultural dance event during the inauguration of the Archdiocesan Center for Sacred Art and Architecture at Thammita Cardinal Cooray Center in Sri Lanka's  Negombo city on Jan. 21. (ucanews.com photo)

Published: January 25, 2017 09:12 AM GMT

Updated: January 25, 2017 09:35 AM GMT

The Catholic Church in Sri Lanka has established its first center for sacred art and architecture in Negombo, sometimes called "Little Rome" because of its large Catholic population.

The center will teach students the theoretical and practical understanding of sacred arts such as iconography, liturgy, music and liturgical preaching. It will also teach sacred architecture.  

The archdiocese inaugurated the Archdiocesan Center for Sacred Art and Architecture at Thammita Cardinal Cooray Center in Negombo, a city where two thirds of the population are Catholic. There are churches, icons and statues of saints along its thoroughfares.

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Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith of Colombo said the center is the first step on a long journey.

"We encourage the youth to move forward. The arts bring people closer to God," said the cardinal, addressing bishops, academics, priests, students and lay people who attended the event on Jan. 21.

"Sacred arts were practiced over many generations and we should bring it to the next generation. Art is important for liturgy," he said.

 

Sarath Chandrajeewasculpts a portrait of Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, at the Thammita Cardinal Cooray Center in Negombo on Jan. 21. (ucanews.com photo)

 

Auxiliary Bishop Fidelis Lionel Emmanuel Fernando of Colombo, who also attended the inauguration, said that this is the first church-run center for sacred art and architecture in Sri Lanka.

"We provide students of other dioceses the opportunity to study here," he said.

"Retired Archbishop Oswald Gomis of Colombo and Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith took the initiative to establish the institution for the Sri Lankan church," Bishop Fernando said.

Father Priyantha Silva and Father Samantha Thushara went to study at the University of Rome so they could conduct classes at the institute.

Sarath Chandrajeewa, dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies at the University of Visual and Performing Arts, attended the event and created a portrait of Cardinal Ranjith.

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