Vigil to remember those affected by the tragic events in Sri Lanka

Scores of people came together at Leicester Cathedral for a vigil to remember those affected by the tragic events in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday.

The poignant service, which included a number of Bible readings, psalms and prayers, was led by The Bishop of Leicester, Rt Revd Martyn Snow and Canon Chancellor, Paul Rattigan.

The vigil provided a space for people from across different communities and faith groups in the city, to come together in a display of unity and remember those who lost their lives in such horrific circumstances.


In an address, Bishop Martyn talked about how though we find ourselves questioning and wondering why, in anger and bewilderment, there are expressions of hope to be found for the future and we should look to the Christian scriptures for guidance.

He said that God is a creator who longs for things to be recreated very differently – a creator still at work today – and we should seek to be those that bring comfort to others.

During an extended period of silence, people were invited to sprinkle grains of incense onto a burner and light candles in a simple act of prayer.

A retiring collection was taken in aid of the Sri Lankan Red Cross.


Sarah Paul – who read from the Lamentations of Jeremiah during the service – moved to Leicester from Sri Lanka 18 years ago and is a pastor at the Zion Word Ministries Tamil church in the city.

She and her husband lost church family and friends in the bombings on Easter Sunday.

After the service, she said: “It’s a very difficult time, and our hearts are breaking, but it was important for me to stand up and read today.

“We cannot get away from these feelings which keep us in tears. I’m very grateful we can be here today, together.”


Belgrave Councillor, Manjula Sood, MBE, and longstanding member of the Leicester Council of Faiths, said: “An act on one faith is an act on us all. It’s heartening seeing people from all faiths come together, in solidarity and prayer.”

Dr Marcus Solanki, a spokesman for the city’s Gujarati Christian community, said:

“For such atrocities to happen, and on Easter Sunday of all days, is just so saddening. Our hearts go out to the families of the people who have died. Our hearts melt to see the tiny coffins of those innocent children whose lives have been taken so soon. As Indian Christians living in Britain, and across the faiths, we are united in our grief and support each other.”

Suleman Nagdi from the Federation of Muslims (FMO) said: “Our deepest condolences go out to all of those affected by the barbaric terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka…

“This attack on Christians at prayer, and those at the hotels in Colombo and Batticaloa, was an assault on people of all faiths and none, and the responses we have seen to this violence tell a powerful story that this grief is shared, and any intent to divide religious communities across the world has failed.”

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