Srinagar, Dec 22: The bells started ringing and the faithful gathered for mass prayer as the Saint Lukes church here – one of the oldest in Kashmir — came alive after three decades on Wednesday just ahead of Christmas.
It was closed after the eruption of militancy in the valley in the 1990s.
The Church located near the Chest Diseases Hospital on the foothills of the Shankaracharya hillock in Dalgate area of the city here will officially be thrown open for the public on Thursday, but the prayer was held on Wednesday, officials said.
The renovation of the Church – which is about 125 years old — was undertaken by the J-K Tourism Department under the “Smart City Project”.
The Church has been thrown open after 30 years after it was renovated and restored to its old glory, they said.
The renovated Church will be e-inaugurated on Thursday by J-K Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, Church official Kennedy David Rajan said.
He said the Christian community is happy to see the Church being re-opened after its renovation.
Grace Paljor, principal of a private school here, said the community was glad that a 125-year-old Church was restored to its old glory, and prayers were held there after three decades.
The minuscule Christian population in the valley usually visit the Holy Family Catholic Church, a Roman Catholic Church, at M A Road, and the one at Church Lane here for Sunday mass and Christmas mass.
There are churches in Baramulla and Gulmarg as well in the valley.–(Agencies)