By Rev. Michael Bjerkhagen
Rev. Michael Bjerkhagen from Sri Lanka, officiated at the Royal wedding between Prince Carl Philip, (the only son of The Swedish King and Queen), and Miss Sofia Hellqvist, on Saturday June 13, 2015. This is Michael Bjerkhagen’s second Royal Wedding and his first was in 2013, between the King’s youngest daughter Princess Madeleine and Mr. Christopher O´Neill.
The Rev. Michael Bjerkhagen was born in Sri Lanka in 1966, in Kandy. His mother had a burgher ancestry and his father came from a traditional old Sri Lankan family in Kandy. Today Rev. Michael is Chaplain to His Majesty The King of Sweden, and Rector of The Swedish Royal Court Parish. He has been involved in various Royal occasions and is a highly respected member of the Swedish Society.
Rev. Bjerkhagen had left Sri Lanka in July, 1972 when he was a little boy of 5 years age together with his adoptive sister. Both his adoptive sister and Rev. Michael were at the same orphanage, ‘Evelyn Nurseries Orphanage’ in Kandy next to Hillwood Collage.
At the time Michael left Sri Lanka, he said, “I was not grown enough to think or to feel where we were taken. I just thought it was a journey or a picnic to somewhere.” He said that his adoptive parents, a Swedish childless couple, father – a Colonel and mother- an Economist – were very kind and lovable to him and to his adoptive sister.
Rev. Michael Bjerkhagen did not find any difficulty in communicating with his adoptive parents as he was very fluent in English language from his childhood as his mother had Burgher descent. After 10 years of his arrival in Sweden, another adoptive sister joined the family, but this time from India. Father said “Three of us have grown up like sisters and brother of one family and my adoptive parents guided us to be what we are today.”
“From my childhood, my dream was to become a priest, and that was also in my mothers prayers according to my Sri Lankan siblings. After I graduated from high school, I told my parents that I wanted to become a priest. Thanks to my parents, they gave their blessings for my wish and helped me to become a priest.
Today Rev. Michael Bjerkhagen strives to give a helping hand to orphanages in Sri Lanka. One of them is The St: John’s Boys home in Kegalle. He hopes to come more often to visit his country of birth, and is very proud of being a Sri Lankan.