12/15/2009, 00.00
SRI LANKA
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Christians remember for Christmas the unknown victims of Sri Lanka’s war

by Melani Manel Perera
An ecumenical meeting is held in Colombo organised by the Christian Solidarity Movement. Sinhalese and Tamil pray for refugees and together remember those who have died among the military, rebels and civilians. For the promoters of the initiative, the Advent of Christmas reminds us that Jesus is the only hope for peace and reconciliation in the country.
Colombo (AsiaNews) – Catholics and Anglicans have remembered together the unknown victims of the country’s recent civil war at an ecumenical prayer held in Colombo on 10 December. Promoted by the Christian Solidarity Movement (CSM), the initiative sought to associate remembrance for unburied war victims and the coming of Christmas.

Titled “To life from death, to the living from the dead, to hope from sorrow,” the prayer brought together priests, pastors and the faithful to pray together in Sinhala and Tamil for the soldiers, Tamil Tigers and civilians who lost their lives during almost 30 years of conflict.

The commemoration, which was held at Saint Michal’s (Anglican) Church in Colombo, emphasised how the birth of Jesus is the only hope for peace and reconciliation in the country.

In a symbolic gesture, participants gathered around a map of Sri Lanka and lit lamps in memory of the dead in each district of the island nation (pictured).

The ecumenical prayer was led by Father Sathivel and Mahinda Namal, leader of the Sinhalese community, who told AsiaNews, “We lit two types of candles, one for the dearly departed, and the other for the Advent of Jesus.”

“In this Christmas,’ he said, “God urges us to devote ourselves to building his Kingdom on earth through the gift of ‘hope” to the victims of war, to the refugees and those who are hungry, without shelter or protection. God calls on us to bring them hope. For this, we must hold high the lights of Advent with determination.”

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