Pope Francis has expressed “heartfelt solidarity” with Thailand’s king and all affected following a terrorist attack on the Erawan Hindu Shrine in Bangkok, which claimed 20 lives on Monday evening.
In a telegram sent this morning on his behalf by Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, to King of Thailand, Bhumibol Adulyadej, the Holy Father expressed he “was deeply saddened to learn of the injury and loss of life caused by the attack at the Erawan Hindu Shrine and of the threat to life and property caused by the bombing at the Sathorn Pier,” and conveyed his “heartfelt solidarity with Your Majesty and all those affected by these acts of violence.”
“Mindful of the security and emergency personnel who are seeking the perpetrators of these crimes, while also assisting the injured, their families and those of the deceased, His Holiness offers the assurance of his prayers and invokes the divine blessings of peace and healing upon the Kingdom,” the message stated.
The Erawan Shrine is considered to be the most famous among Bangkok’s many Hindu shrines. Not only do tourists gravitate there, but Buddhists, Hindu and Sikh members of the nation’s Indian community often offer incense and flowers there, reported CNN. Built in 1956, the shrine houses a golden statue of Phra Phrom (from Sanskrit: Vara Brahma), who is the Thai representation of the Brahma, the Hindu god of creation. The timing of Monday’s bomb, the source explains, was likely strategic, as 7 p.m. is around the time when many go to the shrine as they head home from work.