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Colombo has a new Bishop



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by Lanka Nesiah


It was a bright and sunny morning on Saturday May 14 when the Venerable Dhiloraj Ranjit Canagasabey was episcopally ordained and duly installed as the fifteenth Bishop of Colombo in the Anglican Cathedral of Christ the Living Saviour. He succeeds the the Rt Revd Duleep de Chickera who had retired after a ten-year episcopacy in the Diocese of Colombo. The three-hour long Service of Consecration and Installation, ending with the Eucharist, was solemn but enriched with drummers, musicians and dancers drawn from the Anglican schools in Colombo, Jaffna and the hill country.


Three processions – the Bishop's Procession, the Archdeacon's Procession and the Diocesan Procession, each led by Hewisi Bands from the Anglican schools, arrived at the Cathedral from three different directions. As he arrived at the Cathedral, the Bishop-elect walked through the waters of the baptismal pond while a solo voice sang the hymn 'Lord, I offer my life to you'. The service then began with a litany and the confession.


Thereafter representatives of the clergy and laity, men and women, young and old, presented the Bishop-elect for consecration; and the Registrar of the Diocese read out the instrument of confirmation of the Bishop's election. The Bishop-elect then, made a declaration in Tamil and Sinhala, ending with the words, 'I humbly accept this office as a servant pastor, so help me God'. The Bishop of Kurunagala, as the Presiding Bishop of the Church of Ceylon, asked for and received the confirmation from the congregation that they considered the Bishop-elect worthy to be ordained Bishop and they would uphold him as Bishop.


The sermon was preached by the Ven Godwin Weerasuriya. Before the episcopal ordination began, there was a moving moment when the Bishop-elect greeted his own family, worshipping his mother and mother-in-law. Then followed the declaration by the Bishop-elect that he was accepting this call to higher office in love and obedience to Christ; one of the Bishops, after assuring the Bishop-elect of their solidarity, stated: "Dhiloraj Ranjit Canagasabey, do not allow the burdens and anxieties of your office to blunt your purpose and cloud your vision, but strive always to be pure in heart, to be Christ's servant, to follow the Lord Jesus......" All the Bishops and the Heads of other Churches in Sri Lanka then laid their hands on the Bishop-elect while one of the Bishops anointed him with oil. The newly-ordained Bishop was thereafter presented with a Bible and vested with a cope. While he lit the episcopal lamp, a choir sang the lyric,'Jesus came as light to the world'.


Then followed the installation of Bishop Canagasabey as the Bishop of Colombo. The Episcopal Ring, the Pectoral Cross and the Mitre were presented to him. After he had declared that he would 'serve the See of Colombo with love, justice and humility', he was led to the Bishop's Seat and duly installed. The outgoing Bishop then presented the new Bishop with the pastoral staff, saying, 'Shepherd your people with your staff, the flock that belongs to you.' As his first act as the Bishop of Colombo, Bishop Canagasabey then washed the feet of four persons – young, old, man and woman – drawn from four regions of the Diocese. The Bishops then led the new Bishop in front of the congregation and presented him saying, "People of the Diocese of Colombo, you have a new Bishop, Dhiloraj Ranjit Canagasabey". This was greeted with acclamation, the sound of drums and the pealing of the Cathedral bells.


The greeting of peace was shared by all. The new Bishop then presided over the celebration of the Eucharist, at the end of which, while the congregation sang the Hymn for Sri Lanka, the new Bishop went out onto the Cathedral steps to bless the city of Colombo and the nation.


Among those participating at this Consecration Service were several Bishops from Sri Lanka and several other countries, Heads and Bishops from our sister Churches and ecumenical partners. The Cathedral was packed to capacity with several thousands participating from outside with the aid of CCTV screens. The large congregation included several dignitaries, among whom were the President of Sri Lanka, Leader of the Opposition and a number of Heads of foreign Missions.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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