Rt. Rev. Lakdasa De Mel
1950 - 1962
Rt. Rev. Lakdasa Jacob De Mel, born on 24 March 1902 in Moratuwa, was a significant figure in the Anglican Church in Sri Lanka. He played a pioneering role in the indigenization of the Anglican Church in Sri Lanka. In January 1950, the Diocese of Kurunegala was established, and De Mel was appointed as its first Bishop. The Cathedral of Christ the King, which was largely funded by the De Mel family, became a prominent symbol of the diocese. In May 1962, De Mel was elected as the Metropolitan of India, Pakistan, Burma, and Ceylon. Unfortunately, in March 1976, he was diagnosed with lung cancer, and he passed away on 23 October 1976. His ashes were laid to rest in the Cathedral of Christ the King, a testament to his significant contributions to the Anglican Church.
Rt. Rev. Lakshman Wickremasinghe
1962 - 1983
Rt. Rev. Lakshman Wickremasinghe (25 March 1927 – 23 October 1983) was a prominent figure within the Anglican Communion, known as one of its youngest bishops and a dedicated human rights activist. After receiving his education at Royal College, Colombo, and St. Thomas's College, Guruthalawa, Wickremasinghe excelled in political science at the University of Ceylon. Then he pursued theological studies at Ely Theological College. Following his ordination in 1952, he served at All Saints Church in Poplar, London. Wickremasinghe returned to Sri Lanka in 1958, engaging in parish work and later becoming the Chaplain at Peradeniya University. In 1962, at the age of 35, he was consecrated as the Bishop of Kurunegala, making him the youngest bishop in the Anglican Communion at the time. Wickremasinghe actively participated in human rights advocacy, assuming the role of Chairman of the Civil Rights Movement in 1971. Unfortunately, he suffered a heart attack in 1983, and in October of that year, he passed away.
Rt. Rev. Andrew Kumarage
1983 - 2000
Andrew Oliver Kumarage (16 January 1934 – 21 April 2012), served as the third Bishop of Kurunegala, Sri Lanka. Born on 16 January 1934 as the eldest child in a family of five, Kumarage's parents were lay ministers in the Church of Ceylon. Recognized by Bishop Lakdasa De Mel as a potential leader for the Church, Kumarage embarked on theological studies at Bishop's College in Calcutta, India in 1954, earning a Bachelor of Divinity degree. He returned to Kurunegala in 1958 and was ordained as a Deacon on 1 May that year, followed by priestly ordination in the Diocese of Kurunagala on 23 May 1959. Kumarage played a significant role as a founding member at the Theological College of Lanka in Pilimathalawa. On 6 May 1984, he was consecrated as the third Bishop of Kurunegala, succeeding Bishop Rt. Rev. Lakshman Wickremasinghe, and he served in this position until his retirement in 2000. Andrew Oliver Kumarage passed away on 21 April 2012 at the age of 78.
Rt. Rev. Kumara Ilangasinghe
2000 - 2010
Rt. Rev. Kumara Illangasinghe, was the fourth bishop of Kurunagala Diocese. He began his ministry in 1971 and served in various parishes, including Thalampitiya, Rathmeewela, and Aragoda. Subsequently, he became the chaplain of Trinity College, Kandy. From 1992 to 1999, Illangasinghe served as the principal of the Theological College of Lanka in Pilimathalawa. In 2000, he was consecrated as the fourth Bishop of Kurunegala, succeeding Bishop Andrew Kumarage upon his retirement.
Rt. Rev. Shantha Francis
2010 - 2015
Rt. Rev. Gregory Shantha Kumar Francis, was the fifth bishop of Kurunagala Diocese. He was appointed as a deacon in 1978 and obtained his Bachelor of Theology from the University of Serampore that same year. In 1980, Francis earned a postgraduate diploma in pastoral and clinical counselling, and he was ordained as a priest in the Church of Ceylon. He served as a chaplain at Hillwood College, Kandy (1993 – 2000) and later at Trinity College, Kandy (2001 – 2004). On 7 November 2010, Archbishop Rowan Williams appointed Francis as the fifth Bishop of Kurunegala, succeeding Bishop Kumara Illangasinghe. However, on 6 January 2015, Archbishop Justin Welby announced Francis's resignation from the position of Bishop of Kurunegala.
2015 - 2017
From 2015 to 2017, the position of bishop in the Kurunagala diocese remained vacant. During this period, there was no appointed or serving bishop to oversee the diocese.
Rt. Rev. Keerthisiri Fernando
2018 - 2022
Rt. Rev. Keerthisiri Fernando, born on 5 May 1961, is the sixth Bishop of Kurunegala Diocese. He attended the Prince of Wales College, Moratuwa, from 1967 to 1980. In 1989, Fernando obtained his Bachelor of Theology from the University of Serampore in India and was ordained as a priest in the Church of Ceylon on 30 November 1990. He furthered his education, receiving a Bachelor of Divinity from the University of Serampore in 1993. From 1996 to 2010, Fernando held various positions at the Theological College of Lanka in Pilimathalawa. He pursued higher studies, earning a Master of Philosophy in Sociology with theological implications from the University of Ruhuna in 2001 and a Master of Philosophy in Theology and Sociology of Religion from the University of Kent in 2005. In 2011, he became the incumbent of the Holy Emmanuel Church in Moratuwa. On 29 April 2016, he was installed as the 5th Archdeacon of Nuwara Eliya. On 21 September 2017, Fernando was elected as the Bishop of Kurunegala and was ordained as the 6th Bishop of Kurunegala on 6 January 2018 at the Cathedral of Christ the King, Kurunegala. However, on 24 September 2022, he announced his resignation from the position of bishop.
Rt. Rev. Nishantha Fernando
2023 - Present
In 2023, Rt. Rev. Fr. Nishantha Fernando assumed the role of the seventh Bishop of the Kurunegala Diocese in the Church of Ceylon following his election in Kurunegala on December 17, 2022. Born on July 24, 1968, he received his early education at Ja-Ela Tudella Christ the King College and pursued secondary education at Anuradhapura Central College, ultimately obtaining a theology degree in 1995 from Pilimathalawa Theological College. Ordained as a deacon in 1995 and as a priest in 1996, he held various positions, including serving as Chaplain of the Kurunegala Diocese's youth movement and as a lecturer at the Theological College of Lanka. With a background in theology and degrees from the University of Peradeniya and Newman University, UK, Bishop Fernando contributes to Christian publications and is currently pursuing doctoral studies at Serampore University in India, showcasing his dedication to both pastoral and academic pursuits.