During my last trip to Sri Lanka, I spent some time visiting with my friend, Dottie, Sir Arthur C Clarke’s personal secretary. I got to know Dottie during my travels to Sri Lanka decades ago and we have kept up our friendship and correspondence over the years; it was nice to reconnect in person for a few days.
Dottie is a devout Roman Catholic and wanted to visit the Catholic churches in eastern Sri Lanka, which gave me the opportunity to see places and observe religious customs I otherwise might not have. One of these places was the Cathedral of St. Mary in the small city of Batticaloa, an old church dating to 1808.
The church is simple but nicely maintained. I was especially impressed by the lovely entry doors and the wrought iron decorations on all of the windows. It was a quiet meditative place, as such sanctuaries should be.
It being Easter week, the church was being decorated for this important Christian Holiday. This included a mock-up of the cross in the outside yard, and within a side chapel of the church sat a transparent coffin containing a mannequin of Jesus (symbolically awaiting resurrection on Easter Sunday). The local citizens were very devout, praying beside this icon.
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