Lakshman Wickremasinghe

Lakshman Wickremasinghe

Lakshman Wickremasinghe

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The Rt Revd Dr Lakshman Wickremasinghe (1927 - 23 October 1983) was one of the youngest Bishops in the Anglican Communion and a Human Rights activist.

Early life and education

Born in 1927, he was the third son of Cyril Wickremesinghe of the Ceylon Civil Service and Esme Goonewardene. One of his brothers was the press baron Esmond Wickramasinghe.

Educated at Royal College, Colombo and S Thomas' Gurutalawa, he achieved the best First in political science from the University of Ceylon, then went to Keble College, Oxford but did not finish his Master's, and went to theological college at Ely. He was ordained and then worked in the East End of London.


He returned to Sri Lanka and became Chaplain at Peradeniya University and then was consecrated Bishop of Kurunagala in the Church of Ceylon at the end of 1962, when he was just 35. He was the successor to Lakdasa De Mel who had become Anglican Metropolitan of all four former British colonies, India, Burma, Pakistan (then including East Pakistan, the future Bangladesh), and Ceylon.

Human Rights Activist

He was much involved in Human Rights activities from 1971 onwards, and became Chairman of the Civil Rights Movement, protesting against the authoritarianism of J.R. Jayawardene's government and in particular its attacks on Tamils. He suffered a heart attack in 1981 and was advised to take things slow and had a year in England, where he was in July 1983 when Black July took place. He returned to Sri Lanka, and was one of...
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