The name Warnadeeptha appears in older documents as Varna-dithya which is obviously Warna - Adithya. Adithya being the ancient name for the Sun (suruya), Warna - Adithya appears to be an ancient form of the Karava Surya clan name Warnasuriya. See Surya clan names for the significance of this name, God Varuna and the naval heritage of this clan. By the time the society was formed in the early 1800s the significance of the name had probably been lost and the name is written as Warna-deepthya, Warnadeeptha etc.
Kurukulasuriya is another royal Surya clan name of the Karavas. It denotes the origin traditions of the Karavas from the ancient Kuru dynasty of the Mahabharata period / Kuru-Mandala of South East India - See Timeline of the Karavas for the Kuru connection.
Pattini was a goddess worshipped in ancient Sri Lanka, particularly by the warrior race. - see religious. The Karava king Gajabahu is associated with the Pattini cult and most ancient annual pageants of Sri Lanka appear to have been Pattini pageants that ended with a water cutting ceremony that commemorated king Gajabahu's Indian invasion.
Henedige means armored - sannadhdha in modern Sinhalese. The Karavas were the traditional warrior / military caste of Sri Lanka and ancestral Karawa family names invariably display such ancient military titles - see Karava family names
It is quite probable that the family descends from or is at least connected to the Karava prince (Patangatim) Thome Rodrigo who was one of the three local nobles who signed the 'Malwana convention' in 1597. See Timeline of the Karavas for the sequence of events that made the Karavas the rulers of Sri lanka and then gradually stripped them of all political power. The 'Malwana convention' was the treaty by which the Kotte kingdom passed from Sri Lankan rulers to the Portuguese. Francisco Bethencourt a Portuguese historian of that period refers to the leading men of Kotte who signed the Malvana convention as Korales – a mispronunciation of the word Karavas.
The Rodrigo Family Friend in need Society is the oldest family society of Sri Lanka. It was founded in 1823. The society continues to serve family members in need and society at large and continues to hold an AGM in December every year.
Members of the Rodrigo family Friend-in-need Society of Panadura, the first and oldest family society (founded by Mr. Johannes Rodrigo on 22 December 1823 and formalised later) with David Rodrigo, the President in 1905. Click for larger image
The Society helped thousands of Ceylonese during the famine of 1866 and victims of the Indian famine of 1897. Read article written by Upali Salgado on the Rodrigo Friend in Need Society
Above: W. K. P. H. David Rodrigo
Above: The original 'Nalluruva Maha Walauwwa’ of the Rodrigo family of Panadura. This Maha Gedera was later named “Rodrigo Villa” by the descendants who inherited it. The Family Association as founded here and many meetings have been held in this home.
Office Bearers at the 1925 AGM. Click for larger image
Above: Karava philanthropist, Mrs Jeramias Dias (Pattini Hennedige Warnadeeptya Kurukulasuriya Selestina Rodrigo). She was the daughter of Solomon Rodrigo. Solomon Rodrigo was the Son of Anthony Rodrigo who was a Patabendy. Anthony was the younger brother of Johannus Rodrigo. Her grandson Wilmot A. Perera was a pioneer in the field of 'indigenous education'. He founded Sri Palee, Horana.
Selestina Rodrigo founded Visaka Vidyalaya in 1917 and gave away over Rs. 2 million to various charities. Rs. 2 million was a colossal sum at that time. However D. B. Jayathilleke from the Govigama cabal (see Timeline of the Karava II) had got in as the Treasurer of Visaka Vidyalaya and many other schools and charities and as such funds were always in short supply.
The 1938 -39 Office bearers of the Rodrigo Family Friend in need Society. Click for larger image
The 1979 -80 Office bearers of the Rodrigo Family Friend in need Society, the oldest family society of Sri Lanka. Click for larger image
Office Bearers 2007 -2008. Click for larger image with names.
It is dated 3rd December 1842. As it is a document executed a few years after the Kandyan Convention, this deed looks curiously similar to the Kandyan Convention.
The signatories to this document were:
Warna-Adithya Kurukulasuriya Pattini Hennedige Johannes Rodrigo, Abraham Rodrigo, Juanis Rodrigo, Bastian Rodrigo, Siman Rodrigo, Salaman Rodrigo of Nallur, Siman Rodrigo, Juse Rodrigo, Phillippoo Rodrigo, Gregoris Rodrigo, Police Vidhan of Kaloodewelle and Morawinne, Jeremias Rodrigo, Notary Public of Panadura, Carolis Rodrigo, Notary Public of Panadura, all of Kaloodewelle, Abraham Rodrigo Patabendy, Daniel Rodrigo, Juanis Rodrigo, Police Vidhan, David Rodrigo, Jeronis Rodrigo, Solomon Rodrigo, Theadoris Rodrigo, Bastian Rodrigo, of Wekadde, Anthony Rodrigo Patabandy, Andiris Rodrigo Gooneratne Warnasooriye Cooroonnanse, Joseph Rodrigo, Daniel Rodrigo, Jeronimus Rodrigo and Hendrick Rodrigo.
The witnesses were:
Ponnahennedige Sylvester Dias, Police Vidane of Dicbedde and Kira-kankanange Louis de Silva of Alicam.
The document is attested at Nallore on 3rd December 1842 by: Warna-Adithya Kurukulasuriya Carolis Rodrigo, catechist and Notary Public of Pantura.
Above: The grave and monument of founder, President Warna-Adithya Kurukulasuriya Pattini Hennedige Rodrigo (d. 1856) at the family burial grounds near the former Police Magistrates court, Panadura (Opposite St. John's church on old road)
A list of contributions received by the Friend-in-need Society at the meeting held on 24th December 1838
Some of the affectionate terms used by members of the Rodrigo family to refer to their ancestors are:
Loku Seeya - Johannus Rodrigo
Patabendi Seeyas - Anthony and Abraham Rodrigo
Muhandiram Seeya - Gregoris, Geremaius, Phillip and Abraham Rodrigo
Notharis Seeya - Carolis Rodrigo
Renda Seeya - David Rodrigo
Guru Seeya - Andris Rodrigo
Vidane Seeya - Juanis Rodrigo
Tombs from the Warna-Adithya Kurukulasuriya Pattini Hennedige Rodrigo family burial grounds oposite St. John's church on the old road Panadura.
Below: Descendants visiting the family burial grounds
Young members of the Rodrigo family
Sri Sumangala College Panadura benefited from the benevolance of the Rodrigo family. See web site
G. Leslie Rodrigo
P. Stanly Rodrigo
Vice Admiral Asoka de Silva, Commander of the Sri Lankan Navy 1983 -1986. Grandson of Karava Mudaliyar Thomas Rodrigo
Above: Warna-Adithya Kurukulasuriya Pattini Hennedige Johanes Rodrigo (d. 1856) Founder President 1823 -1856
W. K. P. H. Jeronimus Rodrigo President 1857 -1873W. K. P. H. Arnold Rodrigo President 1874
W. K. P. H. Mathes R. Goonewardene President 1875 -1880
W. K. P. H. Thomas David Rodrigo President 1881 -1906
W. K. P. H. Johannes Rodrigo President 1907 - 1912
Mudaliyar W. K. P. H. Thomas Rodrigo President 1913 -1918
Mudaliyar P. S. Rodrigo President 1919 - 1929
Proctor J. P. Rodrigo President 1930 - 1932 and 1945 – 1949
John A Rodrigo. President 1933 (b.01.07.1870 d. 17.09.1944 )
Dr. Wilson O. Rodrigo. President 1934 -1936
J. D. Rodrigo. President 1937
Col. J. S. Rodrigo Goonewardene. President 1938
Professor J. L. C. Rodrigo President 1939 – 1944
Richard James Rodrigo President 1950 – 1954
Attorney at law Rienzie J. Rodrigo President 1955 – 1975
P Jeronimus Rodrigo President 1976 – 1978
P Wilmot Rodrigo President 1979 – 1983
Other office bearers
P. Jacob D Rodrigo
P Motilal Rodrigo
P. Rukmal Rodrigo
Kshatriya Maha Sabha, Sri Lanka