The Miracle Dome, a cutting-edge International Conference Services Institute (ICSI), is situated on a sprawling 530 perches plot of land in Katunayake.
This extraordinary facility has been under construction for the past seven years, gradually taking shape through the generous contributions and donations of over 13,000 unique individuals who sought a centralised gathering place for their regular prayers. To date, the project has incurred a cost of 2.5 billion.
These exceptional individuals have wholeheartedly supported the vision of creating a sanctuary for The Glorious Church, a place capable of accommodating the spiritual needs of Christ's followers under the leadership of Prophet Jerome.
The roots of the Miracle Dome can be traced back to the early years of 1996, when Pastor Jayalath and Pastor Wendy Fernando, the parents of Prophet Jerome Fernando, initiated prayer services in their humble abode located in Mount Lavinia. This spiritual movement experienced exponential growth as an increasing number of individuals flocked to attend these services.
However, it was in 2009, with the arrival of Jerome Fernando as pastor, that the growth became truly remarkable. The Glorious Church faced an unprecedented surge in attendance, necessitating the hiring of multiple venues to accommodate the ever-expanding congregation and fulfil the soaring demand for services.
By the year 2015, the number of devoted followers had surpassed 6,000, creating an urgent necessity for a facility that could unite them in a single location. It was during this critical juncture that Prophet Jerome Fernando had a remarkable open vision, encompassing the precise details of the land, the architectural structure, seating arrangements, and other intricate aspects of what would become the Miracle Dome.
Inspired by this divine revelation, Mr. Gratian Gunawardane, a prominent businessman and one of Prophet Jerome's ardent followers, selflessly decided to donate his expansive 3-acre property in Katunayake for this noble and transformative endeavour.
Contrary to recent news reports, it is important to clarify that this particular land was not government-owned, nor was it associated with any Board of Investment (BOI) concessions. In the year 2014, Mr. Gratian Gunawardane purchased the land from its previous owner, Mr Anil Ranatunga for his personal use, making a payment of Rs. 92 million.
However, the land remained unused until 2015, when Mr. Gunawardane, recognising the spiritual needs of over 6,000 individuals, realised that its true value lay in serving the community rather than pursuing mere financial gains. It was this profound realisation that led him to selflessly donate the land to The Glorious Church, becoming an active and dedicated member ever since.
With the acquisition of the much-needed land, members of The Glorious Church wholeheartedly began contributing their hard-earned money, placing unwavering trust in Pastor Jerome Fernando, who would later be called Prophet Jerome Fernando, had his prophetic calling acknowledged and accepted by Christian leaders worldwide as they recognized his evident manifestation of the gift of prophesy and his remarkable operation within it.
The construction commenced in the year 2015, with Migara De Alwis serving as the architect and RH Holdings Pvt Ltd undertaking the mammoth task of building this magnificent facility. It took seven long years for the construction to be completed, and along with the building, the follower base also grew significantly.
By the year 2023, over 13,000 followers had started attending the services on a regular basis. Recognising the need for a centralised prayer point and witnessing the ever-increasing grace of Prophet Jerome, these devoted followers consistently funded The Glorious Church, primarily to cover the construction expenses.
Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the local economic difficulties, both local and international followers persevered in supporting The Glorious Church.
In order to uphold transparency and ensure that ownership of the Miracle Dome remained with the dedicated followers who generously contributed their hard-earned money, a Trust was established to oversee its ownership. This Trust is represented by its followers, safeguarding their interests. It is essential to clarify that, despite speculations and misleading media reports, Prophet Jerome does not possess ownership of the Miracle Dome.
The Trust placed significant emphasis on meticulous bookkeeping and precise financial reporting, accounting for every rupee spent during the construction process. To achieve this goal, the Trust enlisted the services of the globally renowned auditing and accounting firm KPMG. This partnership remains active to this day, further demonstrating the commitment to maintaining accurate financial records and ensuring transparency for all stakeholders.
The Trust made the strategic decision to operate the Miracle Dome as a multi-user facility, recognising the pressing demand for such a venue in Sri Lanka. It was evident that there was a dearth of venues with a seating capacity of 5,000 or more to accommodate large-scale meetings, conferences, and events. By effectively utilising the Miracle Dome to attract such gatherings, it is certain that substantial revenue can be generated to sustain the facility.
As anticipated, since the completion of the project, numerous inquiries have poured in, particularly from India, expressing interest in booking confirmations. The Trust is delighted by this response, as it indicates that the Miracle Dome has the potential to become a profitable centre. Beyond hosting Prophet Jerome Fernando's religious events, it can also contribute to Sri Lanka's tourism sector, attracting much-needed US dollars into the country.
In conclusion, the Miracle Dome stands poised to serve as both a spiritual sanctuary and an economic asset, fulfilling the needs of its followers while making a significant contribution to Sri Lanka's overall development and prosperity.
The Prophet Jerome Connection
Prophet Jerome, formerly known as Jerome Fernando, was a renowned cricketer at St. Peter’s College, Colombo, and later served as the captain of the national under-19 team. In his professional life, he gained recognition for his expertise in the garment industry. He initially worked at prominent institutions such as MAS Holdings, Stewart Lanka, etc., before establishing his own successful company and brand, Postmarks Clothing, which catered to leading brands worldwide.
Having grown up experiencing the spiritual journey of his parents, Prophet Jerome decided to relinquish his commercial interests and dedicate himself as a full-time preacher of The Glorious Church in 2009. His involvement brought renewed enthusiasm and accelerated growth to The Glorious Church, attracting hundreds of new followers. The increasing number of attendees led to the establishment of multiple assembly locations to accommodate the growing congregation.
During this time, Prophet Jerome received a divine vision of the Miracle Dome. He passionately shared this vision with his followers, explaining that God had guided every aspect, including the location, architecture, design, size, and interior of the Miracle Dome.
Encouraged by this spiritual calling, he became deeply associated with the Miracle Dome, although he chose not to claim ownership, opting instead to remain one among many potential users. This decision allowed the trustees and owners of the Miracle Dome to generate the necessary revenues for their charitable endeavours.
Addressing Money Laundering Concerns
Recent discussions raised concerns about potential money laundering. However, it is essential to clarify that both the Miracle Dome and Prophet Jerome operate with complete transparency and integrity. Every rupee used in the project has been donated by the followers of The Glorious Church, who willingly contributed their hard-earned money.
The trustees of the Miracle Dome and Prophet Jerome ensured strict financial accountability from the outset. Collaborating with esteemed accounting and audit firm KPMG, they maintained immaculate financial records. Every rupee received has been meticulously accounted for, and every expenditure has been promptly recorded. Rigorous internal financial checks and balances are in place, satisfying investigators that the term "money laundering" holds no association with either the Miracle Dome or Prophet Jerome.
Given the circumstances, it is evident that detaining Prophet Jerome or pursuing punishment based on the hateful agenda of extremist groups, using the ICCPR as a tool, lacks merit. Furthermore, the term "money laundering" is not applicable to the honourable acts of The Glorious Church's followers, who have committed no harm to society.
In light of this situation, the global community watches attentively, hoping for justice and fair play to prevail. The Glorious Church stands as a source of pride for Sri Lanka, while the Miracle Dome exemplifies the unity and faith of a united community.
Rather than undermining such remarkable endeavours, let us strive to establish and enrich more communities and projects like the Miracle Dome, fostering unity and serving noble causes.
(By a guest writer)