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Christmas celebrated with religious fervor

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After 30 years, Srinagar’s St Luke’s Church reverberates with Christmas carol

Srinagar: Christmas was celebrated with religious fervour in Kashmir on Saturday as devotees held special prayers for the good health and prosperity of the people in the Valley.

The largest gathering in Kashmir was held at the Holy Family Catholic Church on Maulana Azad Road in the heart of Srinagar city, where the members of the Christian community, including women and children, assembled to celebrate the occasion and held special prayers.

“I pray the coming year ushers in happiness and God protects us, our country from COVID-19, from all problems and keeps us healthy,” Father Stalin Raja of the church said.

Among the believers were a few tourists who joined the locals on the auspicious day and prayed for peace and prosperity in Jammu and Kashmir, and the world over.

Christmas celebrations were also held in other churches of the Valley, including the St Luke Church at Dalgate, which was renovated and re-opened after about 30 years, recently.

The people from Muslim and Hindu communities were also seen thronging the churches to greet the Christian counterparts.

Locals news agency KNO quoted Shruti, a visitor from Delhi, as saying that Christmas in Kashmir is being celebrated similarly like Delhi where Muslims, Hindus and others gather together to celebrate the festival.

“I don’t feel any difference in Kashmir. We have been misinformed through the media about Kashmir, but after visiting here, there is nothing like that and it is quite safe here,” she said, adding that on the day she prayed for the end to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Christmas prayers were held at other churches including the Saint Josephs Church in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district and at the St. Mary’s Church in Gulmarg.

On Christmas day, the Christian community living in the valley expressed their happiness that the church has been restored and reverberated with Christmas carols again after a gap of 30 years.

The 125 year old Saint Luke’s Church in Srinagar also came to life on the occasion of Christmas today after almost 30 years.

KNO quoted the priest Father Eric as saying that he is happy that after decades this church has had been opened for prayers.

Notably, the church situated in Dalgate area of Srinagar was shut for 30 years, and was thrown open by the Lt. Governor Manoj Sinha only couple of days back after necessary repairs and renovation.

On the eve of Christmas, people from Christian community pray at the 125 year old St. Lukes Church that was thrown open recently after 30 years. Photo/Javed Khan

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