Churches in Sri Lanka remained shut on Sunday, a week since the April 21 Easter Sunday bombings that killed 253 people.
Archbishop of Colombo Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith held a televised mass on Sunday, attended by President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, the BBC reported.
He called the attacks “an insult to humanity” in the service, broadcast from a chapel in his residence.
“Today during this mass we are paying attention to last Sunday’s tragedy and we try to understand it,” Cardinal Ranjith said.
“We pray that in this country there will be peace and co-existence and understanding each other without division.”
While Sri Lanka’s churches were empty, people gathered for a public service outside St Anthony’s Shrine in Colombo – the site of one of the deadliest bombings.
There, Buddhist monks joined Catholic priests for prayers in a show of solidarity with the Christian community.
The church’s bells tolled at 8.45 a.m., the exact moment a bomber detonated his device one week ago. The hands of its damaged clock tower are still stuck at that time.
Besides St Anthony’s Shrine, bombers struck churches in Negombo and the eastern city of Batticaloa, and hotels in Colombo.
The Easter Sunday bombings which also injured over 500 people was the bloodiest attack in the island after the civil war ended in 2009.