Sunday, November 7, 2010

One almighty statue rivals Rio's - Poland

One Almighty statue: Poles build 167ft Jesus Christ to rival Rio's

Last updated at 7:22 PM on 6th November 2010
Step aside, Rio de Janeiro. This town is building a Jesus bigger than yours.
A Polish priest is on the verge of realising his dream of putting up what he says will be the world's largest statue of Jesus Christ in a small town in western Poland.
The giant Jesus at 167ft - a couple of yards higher than the iconic Christ the Redeemer monument in Rio de Janeiro at 125ft - took two days to build as windy weather conditions prevented it being completed in one day.
Getting ahead: Finally after a number of delays including bad weather and cranes which were too small, Jesus gets his head
Getting ahead: Finally after a number of delays including bad weather and cranes which were too small, Jesus gets his head

The torso of Jesus Christ remained topless over night as heavy winds prevented cranes from lifting the torso, arms and head onto the lower half of the robed white figure.
The project cost almost £900,000 with money donated from across the spectrum to fund the big idea. From business people to poor people wanting to make a contribution to the church, work on the statue finally began in 2008.
    Many Poles are embarrassed by the project which is the brainchild of priest, Rev. Sylwester Zawadzki.
    Maciej Czerniewski, a 45-year-old who runs a small store in the shopping center opposite said he is deeply embarrassed by it and accused the priest of 'megalomania'.
    giant Jesus
    Final piece: Workman gently ease the head of the giant Jesus into place by crane
    He said: 'In general I don't care about this project but I would prefer to be living in a normal country. We have bad roads, bad infrastructure but the most monuments in the world and now the biggest Jesus in the world.'
    But other town residents are thrilled by the new business they hope it will bring once believers in this deeply Roman Catholic country add it to their pilgrimage routes. 
    A 68-year-old retired biology teacher, Krystyna Skurzynska, who belongs to the priest's parish, said: 'My friends in Warsaw are making fun of this, but we are happy about it.' 
    They also hope that many Germans - who tend to be much more secular than Poles - will visit simply out of curiosity since the border with Germany is only 45 miles away.

    Krystyna said she hopes it will stimulate the economy and return some old glory to Swiebodzin, a town of 22,000 that was, as she put it, 'a major town in the 13th century.'
    The mayor, Dariusz Bekisz, also is a fan.
    'The biggest statue of Jesus Christ in the world will be in Swiebodzin,' he said. 'People will come and leave some of their money behind.'
    He has little time for those mocking the project as excessively grandiose: 'When castles and the pyramids were built, there were always people who were laughing. But look at how many millions of people go to see such places and spend their money there now', he said.
    The priest, Zawadzki, came up with his idea several years ago, though he imagined something much smaller in scale at first. With time, ambition grew for the man known around the town as 'the builder priest' thanks to churches and other projects he has carried out.
    The figure complete with a golden crown faces a shopping center and supermarket just across the street, and beyond that, the town.

    Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
    Just a few feet apart: Jesus in Poland is 43ft taller than Jesus in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
    Reports say that along the way, a bishop tried to halt the project and officials threatened to withdraw permission for it because of its enormous size. The elderly Zawadzki then had a heart attack.
    He recovered and plans got back on track but in recent weeks there was a new setback: cranes were unable to mount the torso and head because of their massive weight.
    So they sent for a larger, more powerful crane, and had hoped to get the job done Friday. But powerful winds blew from the direction of Berlin, and it was too risky to attempt.
    Construction workers finally finished the almighty task on Saturday afternoon.

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