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28 July 2023

Protestant priest facing severe backlash from Catholic church in Sri Lanka

A Protestant church leader in Sri Lanka has come up against increasing opposition from a Roman Catholic priest in the region. Please pray that Rev. Sujith will be able to continue his ministry, and that both churches will work together for the gospel.  

Sri Lanka

Rumours and threats have prevented Rev. Sujith from carrying out his ministry

Rev. Sujith (name changed), who leads a Protestant church in north west Sri Lanka, is facing increasing opposition from a Roman Catholic priest in the same region. In many places, Christians from different denominations are able to co-exist or support each other – but that is sadly not true in this community. 

When this priest began speaking ill of Rev. Sujith, many in the community were quick to respond in anger. He spread rumours about Rev. Sujith about being a fake priest and ‘enticing’ people to his church with bribes, stirring up local monks and even the police against him. “Beat him up and remove his cassock wherever you find him,” the Catholic priest ordered his followers. 

He has also threatened the community, saying that anyone who talks to Rev. Sujith or invites him to their house would be denied burial grounds in the church, and their children will be rejected from enrolling into schools. 

Rev. Sujith continues to serve his community 

Rev. Sujith’s heart is for the poor. The people who come to his church were experiencing miraculous healings, and word quickly spread. He conducts three services every Sunday, conducts healing and even helps children with their education. But because of the threats made by the Catholic priest, children aren’t attending his classes anymore. Rev. Sujith has also been prevented from visiting several of the islands in recent weeks. 

Despite the challenges, he wants to work for the Lord continuously. “No one who puts a hand to the plough and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God (Luke 9:62). So, I can’t stop what I started,” he says. 

And he’s not alone. Open Doors field partners met Rev. Sujith and prayed with his family. The team also conducted a training programme for the people living in the area to strengthen their faith in the Lord. Local partners hope the Christian community in that area will stand firm in the Lord amid the persecution that they are facing. 

The writer of Psalm 133 expresses their joy ‘when God’s people live together in unity (v.1)’ – and it is Jesus’ fervent prayer that His followers work together: “I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one – I in them and you in me – so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me” (John 17:22-23).  

Please pray that the threats against Rev. Sujith would stop, and that the two church leaders would reconcile their differences and work together so that ‘the world will know that you sent me and have loved them’.  

Please pray
  • For strength and courage for Rev. Sujith to keep serving the Lord as he feels called
  • For unity between the Protestant and Roman Catholic church in north west Sri Lanka
  • That God would further His purposes and build His kingdom in the country.
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