Peters Church

St. Peter's Church is situated near the Grand Oriental Hotel in Fort. According to historians, the site was once a monastery of the Dominican Order called the Chapel of Misericordia during the time of the Portuguese. Later, the Dutch used the building as the Governor's residence. In 1804, the British converted the house into a church and in 1812 the church was dedicated to St. Peter.

With its colonnaded facade, the exterior of the building is quite plain. A monument within commemorates William Tolfray (1778-1817), who translated the Bible into the local Pali and Sinhalese languages. Tablets on the wall record the past. The Church cemetery contains the tombs of several British residents, including Tolfray (1778-1817).

Adjoining the church is the Mission to Seafarers. This international not-for-profit charity was established by an Anglican priest, John Ashley, in 1835 to care for the welfare of seafarers - providing a center for ship visits, emergency assistance, family liaison, and often support and counseling for the survivors of ordeals like shipwreck or hostage-taking by pirates. The organization adopted a flying angel as its symbol in 1858; it is a widely recognized image by mariners all over the world. Many refer to the centers, of which there are more 230, as the 'Flying Angel Clubs'. The organization was formally created in 1865 through the Church of England. Originally Mission to Seamen, the name changed to Mission to Seafarers in 2000, reflecting the growing number of women joining ship crews.

Sea Sunday is celebrated around the world in churches and ports annually on the second Sunday of July.


Opening Times: Wednesdays - 12.30 pm & Sundays - 10.30 am

Tickets: Free

Photographs: Free

Address: Church Street, Fort

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