St.Anthony's Church Kochikade Colombo
They are taking no chances at St Anthony's Church Kochikade in Colombo: their statue of a saint revered throughout Sri Lanka is enclosed in a bullet-proof glass case.
The reverence dates back to the time when Roman Catholics were severely persecuted by the then Dutch rulers, and a priest, Fr Antonio, sought the protection of a fishing community outside Colombo.
Protection was on condition that Fr Antonio, with God’s help, stop the sea erosion of their coastal land. The priest prayed for a miracle—and on the third day the waves receded, and an extensive sand bank was exposed.
As a reward, the government allowed Fr Antonio to build a mud chapel in honor of his patron, St. Anthony of Padua. The chapel was enlarged in 1806, and in 1822 a statue of St. Anthony was placed on the altar.
It is the same one that to this day still venerated on the very spot sanctified by the miraculous event instigated by the saint’s namesake all those years ago.