'We forgive perpetrators of church attack,' says head priest of Sri Lanka's St Anthony's church to WION  

Jude Fernando, head priest, St Anthony’s church, Kochchikade, Sri Lanka.  Photograph:( WION )

WION Colombo, Sri Lanka Apr 23, 2019, 10.47 AM (IST) Sidhant Sibal

St Anthony’s church, Kochchikade, Sri Lanka is one of the targets of terrorist attack in Sri Lanka. Built in 1828 the church has historical significance. WION's Sidhant Sibal spoke to the head priest of the church Jude Fernando, who not only called for forgiveness but also spoke against seeking revenge.

Here are the excerpts from the interview:

WION: What will you say to people who committed the crime?

Fr Jude Fernando: We love peace. We forgive. Our God is the God of Peace and he is not the God of Revenge. We love each other, we forgive. I can't understand why this happened. We will build the church, but it can't bring back the lives of people who were killed. 

WION: Church will be back again?

Fr Jude Fernando: We will do our best. Right now investigations are going on. Not planned anything, once the investigation is over we will do something. Certainly, we will build back the church.

WION: What happened on Sunday?

Fr Jude Fernando: It was Easter mass at 8am. I was in my office and at 8.45am the bast took place. I can’t even imagine the sound is like. With the help of rescuers and community, we sent all those who sustained injuries to the hospital as soon as possible. And now, investigations are on. Massive damage to the church. The whole roof is gone. It's unimaginable and unthinkable what really happened. My humble request is to maintain calm. 

WION: Tell us the history of the church?

Fr Jude Fernando: The church goes back to the Dutch period. This church was built by a priest from India father Antonino. He came from Cochin. It's a place of peace and harmony. It's a house of prayer. It has sentimental value and close to the heart of the people here. Our message is, please forgive and pray for one another. Our God is not the God of Revenge and he is God of Peace. I appeal to everyone to be calm.