The Agustinian friars of the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño de Cebu has considered the visit of a Thai royalty a memorable history since its foundation 454 years ago.
Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, sister of King Maha Vajiralongkorn of Thailand, arrived at the Basilica with 57 royal guards and spent 70 minutes to learn about the church’s history.
Fr. Ric Anthony Reyes, museum director of the church, said the princess paid a visit to the Basilica as part of her history appreciation class.
“General Professor Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Siridhorn, Ph.D. of Thailand proves that no religion can repel the true essence of faith and humanity during her visit today at the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño de Cebu,” a statement posted in Basilica’s official website read.
Accordingly, Sirindhorn’s visit was “part of the annual educational tour of the Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy where the princess is the head of the History department”.
Chainarong Monthienvichienchai, Chancellor of Saint John’s University in Ladphrao, Bangkok Thailand, was quoted in the Basilica’s official website that “the princess does not only teach the Royal Academy by textbook but always try to bring the students a study tour”.
“This is an educational tour so that they [students] will understand about Christianity. They are all Buddhists.” Monthienvichienchai said.
The Agustinian friars toured the princess and the whole delegation around the Basilica compound and posed for a photo opportunity at the Magellan’s Cross and the Sto. Niño Pilgrim Center.
The royalty carefully listened to historical backgrounds of the interior and exterior architectures and the exhibition at the Basilica’s Museum.
The friary in the Basilica said they are “blessed to have the Royal Princess of Thailand paving her historical visit in the Philippines specifically in Cebu, the cradle of Christianity.”
The Philippines will celebrate the 500th year of Christianity in 2021.
“Amidst the difference between religions, the princess with the delegation sets the enthusiasm of faith burning in them,” the Basilica’s statement further read.
“The princess with humility accepts the gift given by the BMSN community as a sign of honor and gratitude for the princess’ presence at the Basilica.”
Although there is no official state religion in the Thai constitution, Thais are predominantly Buddhists. However, the Thai king is required by law to be a Theravada Buddhist.
The friars valued the visit as a way “to make her students understand Christianity even for a short period of time thus, she (Sirindhorn) embodies that there are always ways of establishing good relations amidst dissimilarity in religion.” (PNA)
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