President Ranil Wickremesinghe has expressed his condolences over the demise of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.
The President said it is with sadness that the people of Sri Lanka, especially those of the Catholic faith and him share, with His Holiness Pope Francis and the Catholic community worldwide, heartfelt condolences on the passing of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.
President Wickremesinghe said he leaves a footprint of ecumenical dialogue.
Former Pope Benedict XVI died, aged 95, almost a decade after he stood down because of ailing health earlier today.
He led the Catholic Church for fewer than eight years until, in 2013, he became the first Pope to resign since Gregory XII in 1415.
Benedict spent his final years at the Mater Ecclesiae monastery within the walls of the Vatican where he passed away at 09:34 (08:34 GMT) on Saturday.
His successor Pope Francis will lead the funeral on 5 January.
The Vatican said the body of the Pope Emeritus will be placed in St Peter’s Basilica from 2 January for “the greeting of the faithful”.
Bells rang out from Munich cathedral and a single bell was heard ringing from St Peter’s Square in Rome after the former pope’s death was announced.