Pope Francis became only the second pontiff to visit a Buddhist temple on Wednesday, changing his schedule at the last minute to pay his respects at an important place of worship for Buddhists in Sri Lanka’s capital.
He was given the honor of witnessing a key Buddhist ritual and viewing rare relics from two important disciples of the Buddha, which are normally only displayed once each year.
The AP reports the Vatican saying, “Francis listened respectfully as Buddhist monks chanted and prayed while opening the stupa.”
John Paul II was the first to visit a temple, in 1984 in Thailand .
(WATCH the video above – READ the AP story via the Guardian)
In other papal news, Pope Francis also made an unscheduled stop at a center for street children in Manila Friday shortly after celebrating mass in the Filipino capital. Vatican News reported the Pope spent almost a half an hour with some 320 children.