ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, June 24, 2007
Vol. 42 - No 04

Help renovate the famous S. Thomas' College Chapel

By Ayesha Inoon

The olden beauty of the magnificent chapel still remains. Known as the Chapel of the Transfiguration, this edifice has stood on the grounds of S. Thomas' College, Mount Lavinia for the past eight decades. It is both a symbol of our national heritage as well as inspiration for the generations of Thomians who have learned and grown in its shadow.

Apart from its architectural elegance, the chapel also depicts brilliant art. Inside is the renowned mural of the transfiguration of Jesus Christ, which was completed by David Paynter in 1968. Each of the pillars in the structure portrays a different design featuring unique Sri Lankan art.

Today, the chapel is in urgent need of renovation, particularly the replacement of the 80-year-old roof. To this end, a fund raising effort has been organised, headed by the Special Events Team of the Old Boys’ Association. The launch of the Chapel Renovation Fund took place on the steps of the chapel on June 19 with First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa as Chief Guest.

Describing the history and importance of the chapel as a national treasure, Bertal Pinto-Jayawardena, Chairman of the organising committee, pointed out that many Thomians consider the chapel to be the centre of the college. Originally constructed through the dedicated efforts of then Sub-Warden, Rev. G. M. Withers, the chapel was consecrated by Bishop Mark R. Carpenter-Garnier in 1927 and dedicated to the transfiguration of Christ.

The estimated cost of restoring the monument while retaining the original impression is Rs. 25 million. A special team has been invited by the Warden to offer guidance and expertise on the technical aspects.

Several fund raising events featuring the talents of both old and present Thomians are scheduled to take place this year. These include, 'Revelations in Concert' - an evening of A capella music that will take place on July 1 at the Lionel Wendt, a combined schools choir performance on September 30, a Sunday fair at the College grounds on October 7 and a sing-along of old favourites in November. A special Christmas tree programme will also be held across the 24 days leading up to Christmas and a dinner theatre by the drama society in January 2008.

A special website,, linked to the main College website, has been set up through which old boys and well wishers can contribute to the fund. They can also download songs sung by the College choir and buy special souvenirs online, including replicas of the mural.

The sale of College bonds and SMS contributions via Dialog will take place from July 1 onwards. Any person with a Dialog phone will be able to subscribe Rs. 100 as often as they wish. There are a limited number of college bonds which can be obtained by payment of the required fee at the College office, says Mr. Pinto Jayawardene, adding that further details can be obtained from the website.

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Copyright 2007 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.