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Indian diocese lays foundation for church on "roof of world"

The foundation for a church located at one of the highest altitudes in the world was laid on Sunday in the Ladakh region of India, known as the "roof of the world" at 3520 metres above sea level in the Jammu-Srinagar diocese in the Himalayan range.

"This is going to be the first church on the 'roof of the world,' and the Lord will be proclaimed, not just from the housetop but from the top of the world," said Bishop Peter Celestine of Jammu-Srinagar laying the foundation stone for St. Peter's Church at Leh.

A predominantly Hindu and Buddhist area, Ladakh has a small Christian population with many of them serving in the Indian army in the cold arid region. The land for the new church to be built near Leh airport has been provided free of cost by the Jammu and Kashmir state government.

While Mill Hill Missionaries have been working in the region since 1880, Indian missionaries have been staffing the pastoral centre since 1978, holding church services in a small chapel.