#PopeFrancis makes a Surprise visit to Buddhist Temple in Sri Lanka - Pope John Paul II did too...
Radio Vaticana Text\Image: Pope Francis made an unscheduled visit to the Agrashravaka Buddhist Temple in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on Wednesday. It is the first time Pope Francis has visited a Buddhist Temple.
The head of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi, SJ, said Pope Francis listened respectfully as Buddhist monks chanted and prayed while opening the stupa, or casket, containing relics in the Agrashravaka Temple. Usually, the relics are only put on display once a year, and Buddhists from around Sri Lanka line up for days to pay homage to them since it is such a rare privilege. The head monk at the temple, Banagala Upatissa, told The Associated Press that allowing the pope to witness the relics "is the highest honor and respect we can offer to his holiness."
Father Lombardi said the Holy Father did not pray or meditate during the visit, though he did take off his shoes as all visitors to the temple must do.
"There was not a time of silence in this sense," Father Lombardi explained. "I can only say the pope was listening with great respect, and listening also to the prayer of the monk showing the relics and this was all."