By Grant McKechnie
A controversial statue of Jesus has finally been completed in Poland after several setbacks. But is it a holy glory or a biblical disaster?
What is said to be the worlds tallest statue of Christ, depicting him standing with arms outstretched and wearing a golden crown, is thought that it will pose serious competition from a touristic perspective for the ‘Christ the Redeemer’ statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The statue stands at a colossal 33 meters tall, one meter for every year that Christ lived according to creator and local priest, Reverend Sylwester Zawadzki. The statue actually stands at 36 meters including the crown and a member of the construction team placed the total height at 51 meters if the plinth which Christ is standing on is included in the total height.
Rising above the western Polish plains in Swiebodzin, The statue is being claimed by many, including the town’s mayor, Dariusz Bekisz, to be the worlds tallest, beating both the ‘Christ the Redeemer’ statue in Brazil (39.6 meters) and the less widely known ‘Cristo de la Concordia’ in Bolivia (40.4 meters).
However, it is not all shining glory concerning the statue, dividing poles and underlined the deep cultural divisions between a strongly catholic population and increasingly confident secular society, with many mocking the project as being tacky and questioning if the amount of money, estimated at €1 million (£870,000), could have been better spent on social projects in the town, with one local suggesting a new elementary school as a better use for the money.
The statue also faced numerous problems during its construction with a sceptical bishop halting the project early on, and then state officials also suspending the project due to fears that it’s sheer size would be unsafe. More recently an attempt to finally mount the figure had to be aborted after the original crane brought in to tackle the job was not powerful enough to lift the arms and shoulders, weighing a massive 30 tonnes, onto the standing body. The project suffered the last of it’s delays last week when, after a more powerful crane was sourced, high winds meant conditions were unsafe to carry out the lift.
Regardless of these setbacks the project has finally been finished with its creator Rev. Zawadzki proclaiming ‘I have never been as happy as I am today’.