iSee Church of St. John the Baptist

A repository of centuries of Christian history

  • Main Street, Jaffna 40000
  • Friday Service 6.45 am, Sunday Service 7am

Approaching the Church of St. John the Baptists, its grandeur and history loomed large before me. The massive structure, rising proudly against the sky, held within its walls the echoes of centuries past. Its granite stonework and white borders evoked a sense of reverence reminiscent of churches found in distant lands. But it wasn't just a building; it was a repository of centuries of Christian history, a testament to the enduring faith of the community.

Nature and Christ

The unfamiliar sight of yawning pine trees loomed over me. In Christianity, pine trees hold significant symbolism, often associated with everlasting life, resilience, and spiritual growth. The evergreen nature of pine trees, which retain their vibrant green colour even in the harshest of winters, serves as a reminder of the eternal life promised by faith in Christ.

Passing through the main gate, I saw the office of the Archdeacon of Jaffna, where Samuel Ponniah, a man of dual roles, presided over both St. John the Baptist Church and the educational institutions of the area.

History of Christianity in Jaffna

Walking alongside the Archdeacon towards the present church, I couldn't help but marvel at the layers of history that surrounded us. Samuel told me, that one of the earliest recorded instances of Christian presence in Jaffna dates back to the arrival of Portuguese explorers, and from its origins as a Portuguese church in 1634 to its transformation under Dutch and British rule, the church stood as a testament to the enduring faith of the community it served.

Spiritual and academic growth

St. John the Baptist Church holds significant importance for the Christian community in Jaffna, as it is not only a place of worship, but also home to St. John’s College and a library. This integration of religious, educational, and cultural institutions has created a nexus of community life, serving as a hub for spiritual growth, academic pursuits, and intellectual exchange.

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