H. Lakdasa J. Del Mel
(Bishop of Calcutta and Metropolitan of India 1962 – 1970)

In 1945, Lakdasa De Mel was consecrated as Assistant Bishop of Colombo.  After Oxford, Caddesdon and a curacy at St. John the Divine Kennington he served for a notable twenty years as a mission priest in the Baddegama district.  In 1950 he became the first Bishop of the new Diocese of Kurunagala.  He became the Metropolitan of India in 1963.

A tall statured gentleman with a commanding personality and an extremely pleasant demeanour with a down to earth attitude towards people of all categories was the Most Rev. Metropolitan Lakdasa De Mel.  He headed the Church of India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Burma.  He was a scholarly person who possessed excellent knowledge of diverse religions and was highly appreciated by all of his erudite views as well as his perspective on different aspects of religion.  Young at heart and with a fine sense of humor he was very much loved by the youth with whom he freely interacted.

His contribution and guidance towards the growth of the churches, especially St. Paul’s Cathedral was tremendous.  He was very proud of the Indian Armed Forces.  Bishop Dr. Lakdasa De Mel played a significant role in the Indianisation of liturgy and church paintings.  The last supper painting by the famous painter Jamini Roy was the result of the insight and inspiration of Bishop Lakdasa Del Mel.

Following is one of his letters advising the clergy on their spiritual duties – a very meaningful letter indeed:

15th November 1970
Bishop’s House
51, Chowringhee Road,
Calcutta – 16

Training for the sacred ministry is one of the most important tasks in the Church and this was realised by the first Bishop of Calcutta, Thomas Fanshawe Middleton, who 150 years ago built well and effectively for future generations.  The students of Bishop’s College have gone forth to proclaim the Gospel, to teach the faith and to minister to the souls for whom our Blessed Lord laid down His life.  Even so must we daily follow the Master bearing our cross.

In the years to come, underlying the confusion in which we are involved, there are fruitful possibilities.  A devout and learned clergy must break the Bread of Life to the hungry multitudes.  God grant that, entering into the labours of others, we may go forth to do our tasks faithfully for the benefit of generations to come.  Let us lift up our souls in prayer and with confidence seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit for the future.

Lakdasa De Mel.

Bishop of Calcutta and Metropolitan

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