Dewasaranaramaya - Yakalla, Ibbagamuwa
Dewasaranaramaya is one of the two indigenous monastic orders of Diocese of Kurunagala. The other one is Dewasevikaramaya.
59 years ago, a young Sinhalese man called John Coorey, returned from England after his studies and became a priest in the Anglican Church. He came from the Sir James Peiris family, who were at the forefront of the struggle for the rights of people during British rule. After attaining priesthood John Coorey came to be known as Yohan Devananda. He called himself Sevaka (Servant) Yohan Devananda.
His vision was to live in the village practicing the Christian faith and create a state of religious, cultural, and political harmony. At this point, it was Bishop Lakdasa de Mel- one of the most distinguished Bishops we had in the country- who came to his aid. Bishop Lakdasa de Mel offered his 14-Acre coconut estate situated in Yakalla, Ibbagamuwa in Kurunegala to Sevaka Yohan Devananda. In this land Sevaka Yohan Devananda started Devasaranaya- a haven of spirituality influenced by multiple religions and a centre dedicated to welfare of the people.
Devsaranaya evolved into a much larger community which supported and, was supported by, people`s movements under a new entity called Devasarana Development Centre (DDC). Sevaka Yohan Devananda created a practice called New World Liturgy. Sevaka Yohan Devananda and Devasaranaya worked hard to protect the rights of those detained and visited their families. Devasaranaya played a notable role in major people`s movements such as the farmers` struggle against water tax, the farmers` struggle for land rights and the women`s movement. The role of DDC in facilitating peace-building efforts during the 30-year long war is remarkable. and uplift their lives. DDC also engaged with Muslim and Tamil communities in Mannar, working to empower them.
Sevaka Yohan Devananda and Devasaranaya made lasting contributions to the deepening of the discourse on liberation theology in the country. Sevaka Yohan Devananda passed away in 2016. It is the legacy of Sevaka Yohan Devananda, who came from a wealthiest family but lived a simple life in service to people.
Meth Piyasa (The Shelter of Loving Kindness) is also situated in this premises. The main purpose of the Meth Piyasa community has been serving various ethno-religious communities with a Christian spirituality.
Meth Piyasa is actively functioning and the surrounding plantations are successfully cultivated. Rev. Asoka Wickremage is the director and Rev. Stanley Edward Nissanka is the priest in charge of the church.