Meet Professor Anthony Fernando
Dr. Anthony Fernando
Super-Priest Serving All Religions
Born to a catholic Sri Lankan family, Professor Antony Fernando was singled out for success at a young age. When Dr. Fernando was 9, he scored sufficiently enough on IQ test to be awarded a free education by the Sri Lankan government. As a result, he was enrolled in the largest seminary school in Sri Lanka. After completing his regular schooling and exiting the seminary system as an ordained priest, Fernando was assigned, in no small part due to his academic performance, as a lecturer at the same seminary. He was later sent to Rome to study theology, where he received his doctorate for the Gregorian University in Rome during this time spent abroad. He also traveled to other Catholic institutions in Europe and interacted with members of other faiths, experiences which shaped many of his views on spirituality. The contrast between the practice of Catholicism in Sri Lanka and in Europe had a profound impact on the spiritual beliefs of Dr. Fernando, as in Europe the concept of salvation was seen less as dogma and rather as a spiritual pursuit intended to serve humanity.
After his overseas studies, Dr. Fernando returned to his native Sri Lanka. Having now been exposed to a several new facets of spiritualism, his primary interests were in the teaching of Catechetics and Buddhism. Inspired by his experiences in Europe, Dr. Fernando began an in-depth study of Buddhism, and enrolled himself in a secular university. His studies were directed at understanding the canon law of Buddhism, with a particular focus on doctrines surrounding the wearing of monastic robes.
Dr. Fernando worked as a seminary professor for more than two decades. However, he felt that he could not in clear conscious be both an ordained priest and a practitioner of Buddhism. Thus, he resigned his priesthood and devoted his energies to becoming, in his words, a “super-priest serving all religions in their spiritual forms.” Fernando was soon employed as a lecturer on world religions at a university in Sri Lanka. He would eventually become the head of the World Religions Department at this same university, and would hold this position until his retirement. During this time he also married his wife, a Sri Lankan Buddhist, who has since become a major collaborator on his work.
Across his career, Dr. Fernando has produced a significant body of literary works. His primary focus is centered on the spiritual forms of religion. Fernando is also a strong advocate for the adoption of English as a second language by Sri Lankans, and as such he has authored several books on this topic. As of 2018, he has published fourteen books covering world religions, Buddhism, English and more.