27 October, 2020

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The Letter The ‘London Times’ Didn’t Publish

By Revd. Lakshman Wickremesinghe

Bishop Lakshman Wickremasinghe

The late Bishop of Kurunegala, the Revd. Lakshman Wickremesinghe’s letter he wrote to the London Times on 8 December, 1982  in response to a  leader published in that newspaper which that venerable newspaper did not publish. This  letter was later published in the Lanka Guardian (Vol 6  No.20 of 15 February, 1984) edited by the late Mervyn de Silva. We reproduce below the letter in full;

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    Bishop Lakshman was a great Sinhalese who understood the Tamils. In fact he was quite handsome and I have never seen him in ungreased, unkempt hair as in your photograph.

    I once had occasion to visit his bathroom in Kurunagala while my father was chatting to him. There was one sarong being soaked prior to washing by him. Despite his elegant appearance with carefully combed middle parting, his clerical garments in public did not bring out the ascetic lifestyle he led with few changes of clothing.

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    Its a pity that SRH Hoole did not apparently see the man behind the clothes. Lakshman Wickramasinghe was not only a great man of the Anglican church, he was a true patriot and a great Sri Lankan.He saw and predicted the debacle of the future of his beloved land. He died too early.

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      I thought Hoole’s first sentence, “Bishop Lakshman was a great Sinhalese who understood the Tamils” shows that he understood the Bishop quite well. The point of his comment, I think, is that when he wears 20 shirts people notice. But when the Bishop goes around with 2 cassocks, few would recognize his ascetic lifestyle b/c all cassocks are white, or purple/scarlet for bishops (except the black ones which aren’t used in SL)!

      I do not know why I remember the Bishop in white, although I have seen him in scarlet at the service of consecration of a bishop.

      I think we’re all batting for the same team here, good sir.

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