Christianity was introduced to Sri Lanka by Portuguese after their invasion in 1505 and later Dutch introduced Catholicism during their period of rule after Portuguese. Most Christian congregation in Sri Lanka meet for worship on Sundays, and services are held in Sinhala, Tamil as well as in English. They are open to all.
According to Christian traditions, the Apostle Thomas was active in Sri Lanka as well as southern India during the first century A.D. Small Christian communities existed on the coasts of Sri Lanka during the succeeding centuries, flourishing on the edges of the Indian Ocean trade routes as Islam did in later times. Christianity made significant inroads only after the fifteenth century, as aggressive Portuguese missionary efforts led to many conversions, especially among the Karava and other low-country castes. When the Dutch took control of Sri Lanka, they encouraged their own missionaries of the Dutch Reformed Church. Under their patronage, 21 percent of the population in the low country was officially Christian by 1722. The British, in turn, allowed Anglican and other Protestant missionaries to proselytize.