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A story of eccentricity in Spain

Justo Gallego has spent 40 years single-handedly building a cathedral, only to discover that his quixotic passion for the offbeat building was not widely shared.

After four decades of toil the 78-year-old former Cistercian monk says his obra, or work, which rises out of the Castilian plain at Mejorada del Campo 15 miles from Madrid, is now almost finished.

But as many of Spain’s dilapidated churches are increasingly given over to storks rather than worshippers, the Church sees no need for another.

“It’s not a cathedral and it never will be,” said a spokesman for the Alcala diocese, to which Mejorada del Campo belongs. “It’s not necessary and it needs the kind of investment that the diocese just can’t make.”

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