St. Sylvester’s Monastery
Ampitiya – District of Kandy (Central Province)
Postal Code 20000
Phone: 081-2223684 (monastery),081-2219858 (Prior Direct line) ,0812235132 (Secretary & Fax)


Monasteo S. Stefano Protomartire
Via di S. Stefano delCacco, 26
Tel. (06) 679860 / 67883257

Vision and Mission:

Quaerere Deum: We seek God through Solitude, Community, and Ministry
Motto - OraetLabora
Vision Statement - Seeking God, Serving the Church
Mission Statement - To spread the Joy of the Gospel through Prayer, Work and Common Life


Sylvester Guzzolini, the Founder of the Sylvestro-Benedictine Congregation. was born in 1177 in Osimo, Italy. He was a canon of the Cathedral of Osimo, when he was attracted to the eremitical life, having experienced the vain pursuits of the ecclesiastics of his day. His peaceful life in the wilderness had to be abandoned, as many others wanted to follow him. Accepting the Rule of St. Benedict and adopting a monastic robe of blue, he began a community with his followers by the brook of Vembercilli on the outskirts of Fabriano. In 1231 he established a monastery at the same place which is now known as Monte Fano. The Congregation was approved by His Holiness Pope Innocent IV, in 1284.

History of the foundation:

Founded on 14th August 1845

The Benedictine presence occurred inSri Lanka when the Sylvestrine Monks came as Missionaries under the auspices of Propaganda Fidei in August 1845to reinforce catholic orthodoxy in the face of the ‘padroado’ of the Portuguese of Goa.. The first Monk to set foot in Sri Lanka was Rev. Fr.Giuseppe Maria Bravi OSB who was soon joined by the other confreres.He was also the first Benedictine missionary in Asia since the twelfth century. He had reintroduced the Rule of Benedict after a seven hundred year absence, since the time when Saladin’s soldiers had stormed and destroyed the great Benedictine abbey on Mount Tabor in 1187.

The Southern Vicariate of Colombo was entrusted to the Monks in 1857 and Mgr.Bravi OSB became the first European Vicar Apostolic. Propaganda Fide appointed Dom HilarionSilani, another Sylvestro-Benedictine monk to succeed MgrBravi in 1863. His tenure of office can be rightly called the golden era of the Southern Vicariate. The third Sylvestro-Benedictine Vicar Apostolic of Colombo, Mgr. Clement Pagnani, was a zealous missionary. He was ordained bishop on 12th September 1879. At the request of the Monks, the Colombo Vicariate was divided and the Monks took charge of the new Diocese of Kandy in 1883. The Monastery Church in Kandy became the Cathedral of the new Diocese.MgrPagnani was succeeded by Dom Bede Beekmeyer OSB who was the first son of the soil (first Ceylonese) to be raised to episcopal dignity. During his tenure of office, he made Catholicism come alive and change the face of the diocese. Dom Bernard Regno OSB a saintly missionary monk, was chosen to fill the vacancy created by the death of Bishop Beekmeyer in 1936. Bishop Bernard Regno governed the diocese for another quarter century, in a St. Sylvester Guzzolini spirit of selfless service to the poor. He is called the "Coolie Bishop" on account of his commitment to the evangelization of the poor plantation workers with whom he delighted to dwell.After a fairly long reign, with age catching up on him and weak constitution, Bishop Regno resigned from his duties and Dom Leo Nanayakkara OSB was appointed Bishop of Kandy in 1959.With the transfer of Bishop Leo to the new Diocese of Badulla, the Congregation in Sri Lanka entered a new phase. The onus of the ordinary care of the diocese was handed over to the Diocesan Clergy and the freedom to live and work in accordance with our specific identity as monks, dawned. The Congregation was free to organize its life and work.

Today we try to liveour monastic identity in the missionary context of Sri Lanka. The Priest Monks of our priory serve in the parishes in the dioceses of Colombo, Chilaw, Badulla, Batticaloa and Kandy; education of youth, care of the orphans, teaching in the Seminary and preaching retreats, promotion of liturgical music are other apostolic activities our monks are engaged in. All the monks live in communities, even though small, and try to maintain their monastic identity. As we live and serve the people in a multi-religious context, we maintain good relationship with our non-Christian neighbours. Some efforts are being made to enter into dialogue with our counterparts in other religious persuasions. "May God be Glorified in all things"

Monte Fano, our Mother House:

The Monastery of Monte Fano was established in 1927 primarily as a formation house. In 1972 the responsibility for the diocese was handed over to the Diocesan Clergy and the Monastery Church in Kandy was given to the Diocese. This left Monte Fano as the main Monastery of the Sylvestro Benedictine Priory in Sri Lanka. Today the Congregation has 10 Monastic Communities, five in parishes and the remainder are engaged in various types of apostolic activities.


ocation and Routes:

Location :

Kandy is the Central Province in Sri Lanka and Monte Fano the Mother House of the Sylvestro Benedictine Monks is just 04km away from Kandy town.

By Bus :

Colombo is the Capital City in Sri Lanka and buses between Colombo andKandy are both common and frequent on the A01 route. Thus just one bus from Colombo to Kandy (approximately 04 hours) and then another bus from Kandy to Ampitiya (20 mins).

By Rail :

From Colombo Fort railway station, trains frequent to Kandy (03 hours). Then just another bus from Kandy to Ampitiya (20 mins)

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