The Madhu Church is considered to be one of the holiest Catholic shrines in Sri Lanka and is visited by countless masses of both Sinhalese and Tamil devotees throughout the year. The festival of the Madhu Church is one of the most important dates in the calendars of many across the country. Pope Francis also made a visit to Madhu Church when he visited the island in January 2015.
With a history of over 400 years, the Madhu Church is one that has seen strife and conflict of the most brutal kind. With the arrival of Portuguese missionaries from India, Roman Catholicism started taking root in the island. Albeit the persecution that followed, the Catholic Church continued to grow. During the Dutch invasion of the island, devotees met in the area of Madhu and installed this beautiful shrine with the treasured statue of Our Lady of Good Health.
During recent times, when the civil war claimed thousands of innocent lives, the holy Madhu Church was also shelled, as it was located in the midst of the war zone. Before the devastation reached the area, Madhu Church provided shelter and protection to thousands of civilians, being designated as a demilitarized zone. The statue of Our Lady of Madhu was taken in procession for the third time in history in the year 2001, in an attempt to urge and encourage the Catholics of Sri Lanka to pray for peace in the nation.
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