On 3. July 2012, the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI, by a special Bull created the Diocese of Batticaloa, by dividing the former diocese of Trincomalee-Batticaloa into two dioceses. The new diocese has a history going all the way back to the time of the coming of the Portuguese to the then known Ceylon.
Long before the creation of the diocese of Batticaloa, and the creation of the diocese of Trincomalee,
Christianity was introduced into Batticaloa and the Trincomalee by the Portuguese in the 16th century.
The diocese of Batticaloa covers 7269 square kilometers comprising the civil districts of Batticaloa and Ampara. The 2020 census counted 1,303,000 people in these two districts, whom it identified 43,700 as Catholics.
Standard Tamil language is in use. Sinhala language is used in some areas.
Batticaloa is the newly formed 12th diocese of Sri Lanka on July 4, 2012. In earlier, it was a part of the diocese of Trincomalee-Batticaloa.
Batticaloa diocese is adjacent to Jaffna in the north, Colombo in the west, Galle in the south, Kandy in the central region, and Kurunegala.
Archaeological Department has identified 55 ancient Buddhist Shrines and archaeological sites in the Batticaloa and Ampara districts of diocese of Batticaloa.
Batticaloa known as the “land of the singing fish” is on the east coast, 303 kilometers from Colombo. The population of 1,303,000 consists mainly of Tamils and Muslims, with a minority Sinhalese population.
The Batticaloa fort was built by the Portuguese in 1628 and was the first to be captured by the Dutch (18 May 1638). It is one of the most picturesque of the small Dutch fort of Sri Lanka, it is situated in an island, still in good condition. Near Batticaloa the Portuguese had a tiny fort at Tanavare. There is a 1st century CE Buddhist Dagaba inside the Dutch fort.
Batticaloa has three lagoons where Batticaloa is the largest lagoon of them all. One must stand at the edge of these calm lapping waters and feel the beauty of this lagoon city. Within the Batticaloa Lagoon there are several islands and many bridges are built across. For those looking for some history and monuments stone inscriptions of the Brahmi script can still be found in Urugam and Karadiyan Aru.
Most farms in this area are now cultivated by Tamils and Muslims, traditionally business people who have turned to farming and fishing. Several Eastern Province Muslims are now land owners and own vast tracks of rice fields.
The district was hit hard by the tsunami caused by Indian Ocean earth quake in 2004. The tsunami resulted in 3,177 dead or missing persons and affected 255,000 people in the district.
Ampara is a very remote city located in the Eastern Province, Sri Lanka, about 350 kilometers from the capitol city of Colombo. It has an area of 4,415 square kilometers. According to the 2012 census in the country, the population of the district of Ampara went up to 645,825.
Most of the civilians in the town are Sinhala while Tamils and Muslims are living as a minority community. It was a part of the domain of Kavantissa (2nd century BCE) and was then known as "Ambaragama", which over the years changed to Ambara to Ampara.
Attractions in Amapara are Deegawapi Temple, Irrakamam famous for its wild life and the beautiful reservoir Senanayaka Samudra. The beaches of Olluvil are famous for its rare tropical fish. Amapara is very rich in its wild life and some of the wild life parks offer its guest the best in game viewing and bird watching. The district of Ampara is famous for its bird life and off shore migratory birds that come here to feed.
Ampara has been damaged through the effects of the tsunami and the civil war.
Batticaloa is well connected by rail and road to all Sri Lanka’s major cities such as Colombo, Jaffna, Galle, Anuradhapura and to most other important cities and towns.
The percentage of fishing community population in the diocese is very high. It shows a huge potential for tourism related industries.
This fabled church is also known by its Syriac name Mar Sleeva (Holy Cross) Church
Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica at Fort Kochi is one of the finest churches and a historic but also a landmark in Kerala state of southern India. Santa Cruz Church blends Indo-European and Gothic architectural style that draws tens of thousands of pilgrims and tourists every year. The cathedral is a great place of devotion and historic significance that survived colonial conquests and invasions to the city.
Mokama Marian shrine on the southern bank of Ganges River bears the legacy persecuted Nepali Catholics banished from their homeland to India for refusing to renounce their faith. Our Lady of Divine Grace Church at Mokama stands about 90 kilometers from Patna, the capital of eastern Indian state of Bihar. Mother Mary is popularly known as Mokama Mata (Mother of Mokama). The church was built to honor Mary in 1947.
Our Lady of Akita Catholic Church is Yuzawadai is among the most famous churches in Japan. The church shot into global fame thanks to a wooden statue of Blessed Virgin Mary that wept 101 times and Marian apparitions to Japanese nun Sister Agnes Katsuko Sasagawa that miraculously healed her hearing impairment. Japanese wooden sculptor Saburo Wakasa from Akita city carved the now-famous miraculous statue of Virgin Mary in 1963.
The Church of the Visitation in Seremban relishes the treasured legacy of pioneering French missionaries who introduced Catholicism in Kuala Lumpur and surrounding region in the 19th century. The first and oldest Church in Kuala Lumpur became a springboard of evangelization following the arrival of French missionary priest Father Pierre Favre from Paris Foreign Mission Society (MEP). Before settling down in Seremban he carried out missionary activities in the area from hismission station in Malacca.
St. Mary’s Cathedral Church in Ranchi, the capital of Jharkhand state, is the mother church in the tribal belt of eastern India, where Belgian Jesuits laid the foundation of Catholicism in 19th century. This brownish Church, dedicated to the Immaculate Conception of Virgin Mary, stands on Dr. Camil Bulcke Path and nestles between St. Xavier’s College and St. Albert Major Seminary.
Basilica of Our Lady of Graces in Sardhana is a historic church that lives the memory of love and benevolence of the sole female Roman Catholic ruler in India. Our Lady of Graces Church of Sardhana stands at Meerut district in Uttar Pradesh of northern India. Consecrated in 1822, this 200-feet long church with a high central dome over the main altar, is one of the largest churches in northern India.
Saint Thomas Cathedral Basilica at Mylapore is a monumental declaration on ancient root of Christianity in India. The church was built over the tomb of St. Thomas, the Apostle who is believed to have preached Christianity in India. The cathedral preserves 2000-year-old bones of the saint and the lance that pierced him to death. Popularly known as Santhome Church, the cathedral at Chennai (formerly Madras) in Tamil Nadu state was constructed during the Portuguese era in the 16th century. “San Thome” assumes its name from St. Thomas.