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A village in Sri Lanka.
Photo: Flickr / Adam Jones

On October 16th, 2015, a mob of around 300 villagers in a remote area of Sri Lanka prevented a Christian family from performing a burial service at a public cemetery, declaring that the burial could only take place according to Hindu rituals. Unable to bury the body at the public cemetery, the pastor attempted to perform the burial on church grounds instead. The mob then entered the church premises by force, breaking the fence and setting fire to two motorbikes that were parked on the property. After the police obtained an order from the Magistrates Court, the family was forced to bury the body of their loved one outside the village at a cemetery 23 kilometres away.

Small crimes against Christian believers in Sri Lanka are not uncommon. Over the past three months, there have been reports of multiple incidences committed against believers, pastors, and their congregations. Those of the Kagelle District have been especially targeted. Three pastors and their congregations, in particular, have experienced strong opposition from neighbouring militants. They have been insulted verbally, had their properties burned, and undergone severe pressure to close their church doors.

In one incident, a sub-inspector from the area police station approached a pastor on his church premises and demanded to see the church's registration. The pastor, who has been ministering in the area for the past 18 years, never received any notification of required registration. According to the country's legal representatives, there is no such law regarding the registration of religious worship places in Sri Lanka. For previous reports on persecution in this country, please click here.

Let us lift our voices in prayer on behalf of these targeted Christian believers in Kagelle and other areas of Sri Lanka. As a result, may they be greatly encouraged and strengthened, knowing that they are being upheld in prayer and supported by their brothers and sisters in Christ. May they also be reminded of God's promise that though they are persecuted, they are not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed (2 Cor. 4:9). Pray for God's protection over their lives and for His intervention to take place in each of these situations. And as they boldly proclaim Jesus as Saviour and Lord, may those opposing them experience His loving kindness, mercy and salvation.

Current Ministry Projects

VOMC supports persecuted Christians who are serving as faithful witnesses for Christ among hostile environments through the provision of Biblical training, legal aid and advocacy, as well as rehabilitation and emergency assistance.

Project Funds: Relief and Development, Legal Defence

Country Information

23,044,123 (July 2021 est.)

Ethnicity (%)
Sinhalese (74.9), Sri Lankan Tamil (11.2), Sri Lankan Moors (9.2), Indian Tamil (4.2), other (0.5)

Religion (%)
Buddhism (70.2), Hinduism (12.6), Islam (9.7), Roman Catholic (6.1), Evangelical Christianity (2.0)

Ranil Wickremesinghe (July 2022)

Government type
Presidential republic

Legal system
Mixed legal system of Roman-Dutch civil law, English common law, and Jaffna Tamil customary law

Source: CIA World Factbook

Pray for Sri Lanka

Let's unite our hearts in prayer for those in Sri Lanka who are being persecuted for their faith, thanking God for what He is accomplishing despite the opposition. Ask that His people will be encouraged, strengthened and equipped by the promises of the Bible – the Sword of the Spirit – knowing that He is watching over His Word to perform it (Ephesians 6:17; Jeremiah 1:12). May they not only overcome the strategies of the enemy, but also serve as effective witnesses to those in need of eternal salvation and deliverance from spiritual captivity.


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Sri Lanka News

  • Church Under Investigation for Worship Services
    Monks walking along a tree covered road.
    Roughly 70 percent of Sri Lankans follow Buddhism.

    The Pentecostal Assembly congregation in Dodangoda, Sri Lanka, is made up of about seven families who regularly meet in the home of their pastor. On February 12th, while the Sunday worship service was in progress, approximately seven police officers

  • Municipal Authorities Order Demolition of Church
    Scenic view of Anuradhapura District; lake in the foreground, town in the distance
    Anuradhapura District

    The "Jesus Calls You" church in Abepradesa, Anuradhapura District, has been facing repeated harassment from local municipal council members, who claim that the church is unauthorized and therefore operating illegally. On September 23rd, the pastor received a letter ordering tha

  • Churches Facing Threats of Forcible Closure
    Interior of a small church.
    A church in Sri Lanka.
    Photo: VOM Canada

    In two separate instances, churches in Sri Lanka received demands to close on the pretence that their activities were offensive to their communities. In both cases, legal action has been threatened if they fail to comply.

  • Upheaval Causes Concerns for Churches
    Flowers surrounding a poster saying, ''Pray for Sri Lanka''
    Photo: Wikimedia Commons / Andreas Schwarzkopf (cc)

    As the nation of Sri Lanka faces its worst political and economic crisis in recent years, life for the common people has been severely impacted. Anti-government protests have led to a crackdown by authorities, introducing restrictive measures to