The Chapel of the Transfiguration S. Thomas’ College, Mount Lavinia

The Chapel of the Transfiguration, of S. Thomas’ College, Mount Lavinia towers majestically from the highest hillock of the campus – a silent witness to the thoughts and prayers, and the hopes and aspirations of generations of Thomian schoolboys, who have trodden its long familiar aisles during its ninety years.

Looking back over the last ninety years, the humble beginnings of Christian worship in the island’s premier Anglican educational institution were evident from the cadjan shed that served as a place of worship for the pioneer generation of College boys in 1918.

During the early years of transition when the school which had stood in Mutwal since 1851 was striking its roots in her new home, Mount Lavinia was but a tiny fishing hamlet that stood on the borders of the Bambalapitiya jungle. The move from Mutwal, then the most esteemed residential area in Colombo, and the hallowed precincts of the Christ Church Cathedral, the ‘Gal Palliya’ (stone church) so beloved to the first Thomians, was almost traumatic in its eff‑ects.

There amidst the coconut palms, that grew in orderly profusion in what is today the War Memorial Big Club cricket grounds stood a large shed thatched with cadjans, along the road that runs by the present Primary School class room block. This served as the boarders’ dining hall and preparatory hall and was partitioned off by a glass screen to distinguish a small temporary chapel.