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In PHOTOS: World's largest statue of Jesus

Last updated on: November 18, 2010 08:40 IST

In PHOTOS: World's largest statue of Jesus

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A small Polish town is all set to enter record books. The world's largest statue of Jesus Christ that rises to 167 feet is all set to be unveiled.

Swiebodzin, a Polish town of 21,000 near the German border, is home to a 33-metre effigy of Christ, which, along with a crown that adds a further two metres and its 16-metre mound will put all other statues dedicated to the son of God in its shade.

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Image: The giant statue of Jesus Christ
Photographs: Kacper Pempel/Reuters
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In PHOTOS: World's largest statue of Jesus

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Though the statue will not officially be consecrated until November 21, work on it was completed last weekend, including the difficult task of attaching the head to the rest of the body.

Made of plaster and fibreglass and weighing about 440 tonnes, its construction took five years.


Image: Priest Sylwester Zawadzki poses in front of the giant statue of Jesus Christ
Photographs: Kacper Pempel/Reuters
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The $1.5 million statue was built using private donations from town residents, and designed by priest Sylvester Zawadzki.

Official named as 'Christ the King', the main body of the Polish Jesus is 33 metres high -- a metre for each year he lived -- and is topped with a three-metre metal crown of thorns.

Due for completion in November, the monument should pip the world's current record holder, Bolivia's Cristo de la Concodia statue, by some nine metres, and look down on the world famous statue in Rio de Janeiro.


Image: Workers attach chains to the head of the giant statue
Photographs: Kacper Pempel/Reuters
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In PHOTOS: World's largest statue of Jesus

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It would reportedly be taller than the 80-year-old Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro.

Although erected ostensibly to show gratitude to God, the town hopes having the massive statue will bring tourists into a community that has lain off the beaten track for most of its existence.

"If we had opened a racetrack or a golf course here, tourists would have come only for the season. But with a statue of Jesus the season will last the whole year," the Telegraph quoted a local official as telling Wprost, a weekly news magazine.




Image: Workers wait to fix the head of the giant statue
Photographs: Kacper Pempel/Reuters
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However, the 36-metre tall structure of Jesus Christ has apparently divided the Polish Catholics over the statue.

It has also led to charges of megalomania against the Catholic Church.

The project has split Polish society: Some are expressing pride, others derision, while many practising Catholics are calling for it to be abandoned.


Image: Workers stand next to the head of the giant statue
Photographs: Kacper Pempel/Reuters
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In PHOTOS: World's largest statue of Jesus

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Supporters of the project, which is being led by local priest Sylwester Zawadzki, hope the statue will attract pilgrims from across the country, turning the economically downtrodden town into a 'second Czestochowa', a reference to Poland's most popular pilgrimage site, home of the Black Madonna shrine.

The latest worries are about safety after a crane collapsed when builders tried to position the head, crushing a builder's foot.


Image: A crane lifts the arms of the statue to be pieced together with his body
Photographs: Kacper Pempel/Reuters
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Sceptics said it was a sign of God's disapproval.

When the priest suffered a heart attack, the same claim was made and building experts have also voiced concerns the foundations are not deep enough.

"We'll give it 20 years, maximum, then it'll fall apart," the Sydney Morning Herald quoted one building expert as telling Polish media.


Image: The giant statue of Jesus Christ is seen in Swiebodzin
Photographs: Kacper Pempel/Reuters
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