Diocese of Batticaloa
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On 3 . July 2012, the Holy Father Pope Benedict  XVI, by a special Bull created the Diocese of  Batticaloa, by dividing the former diocese of  Trincomalee-Batticaloa into two dioceses. The new diocese has a history going all the way back to the time of the coming of the Portuguese to the then known  Ceylon.

Long before the creation of the diocese of  Batticaloa, and the creation of the diocese of Trincomalee,

Christianity was introduced into Batticaloa and the Trincomalee by the Portuguese in the 16  century

Population

The diocese of Batticaloa covers 7269 square kilometers comprising the civil districts of Batticaloa and Ampara. The 2012 census counted 1,171,011 people in these two districts, whom it identified 31,997 as Catholics.

Language

Standard Tamil language is in use. Sinhala language is used in some areas.

History

Batticaloa is the newly formed 12th diocese of Sri Lanka on July 4, 2012. In earlier, it was a part of the diocese of Trincomalee-Batticaloa.

Batticaloa diocese is adjacent to Jaffna in the north, Colombo in the west, Galle in the south, Kandy in the central region, and Kurunegala.

Archaeological Department has identified 55 ancient Buddhist Shrines and archaeological sites in the Batticaloa and Ampara districts of diocese of Batticaloa.

Batticaloa known as the “land of the singing fish” is on the east coast, 303 kilometers from Colombo. The population of 525,186 consists mainly of Tamils and Muslims, with a minority Sinhalese population.

The Batticaloa fort was built by the Portuguese in 1628 and was the first to be captured by the Dutch (18 May 1638). It is one of the most picturesque of the small Dutch fort of Sri Lanka, it is situated in an island, still in good condition. Near Batticaloa the Portuguese had a tiny fort at Tanavare. There is a 1st century CE Buddhist Dagaba inside the Dutch fort.

Batticaloa has three lagoons where Batticaloa is the largest lagoon of them all. One must stand at the edge of these calm lapping waters and feel the beauty of this lagoon city.  Within the Batticaloa Lagoon there are several islands and many bridges are built across. For those looking for some history and monuments stone inscriptions of the Brahmi script can still be found in Urugam and Karadiyan Aru.

Most farms in this area are now cultivated by Tamils and Muslims, traditionally business people who have turned to farming and fishing. Several Eastern Province Muslims are now land owners and own vast tracks of rice fields.

The district was hit hard by the tsunami caused by Indian Ocean earth quake in 2004. The tsunami resulted in 3,177 dead or missing persons and affected 255,000 people in the district.

Ampara is a very remote city located in the Eastern Province, Sri Lanka, about 350 kilometers from the capitol city of Colombo. It has an area of 4,415 square kilometers. According to the 2012 census in the country, the population of the district of Ampara went up to 645,825.

Most of the civilians in the town are Sinhala while Tamils and Muslims are living as a minority community. It was a part of the domain of Kavantissa (2nd century BCE) and was then known as "Ambaragama", which over the years changed to Ambara to Ampara.

Attractions in Amapara are Deegawapi Temple, Irrakamam famous for its wild life and the beautiful reservoir Senanayaka Samudra. The beaches of Olluvil are famous for its rare tropical fish. Amapara is very rich in its wild life and some of the wild life parks offer its guest the best in game viewing and bird watching. The district of Ampara is famous for its bird life and off shore migratory birds that come here to feed.

Ampara has been damaged through the effects of the tsunami and the civil war.

Transportation

Batticaloa is well connected by rail and road to all Sri Lanka’s major cities such as Colombo, Jaffna, Galle, Anuradhapura and to most other important cities and towns.

Industries

The percentage of fishing community population in the diocese is very high. It shows a huge potential for tourism related industries.