The town in which it is being built hopes that it will take the place of the world's third-tallest statue of Jesus and help increase tourism
While many are aware of the 124 ft statue called Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, there's now a new massive statue of Jesus Christ being erected in the southern part of the country. The upcoming Christ the Protector statue is said to stand even taller at 141 ft, according to CNN. This huge undertaking is headed by a local organization named Friends of Christ Association (AACristo) who is building the statue out of steel and concrete in Encantado, a small town in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, which nearly borders Uruguay and Argentina.
A huge statue of Jesus Christ is under construction in southern Brazil, and it will be even taller than its famous counterpart in Rio de Janeiro. https://t.co/0VVdnwYxbq— Arizona Daily Star (@TucsonStar) April 12, 2021
As per the organization, it is the work of sculptor Genésio Gomes Moura and his son, Markus Moura. The construction began in July 2019 but due to the pandemic, the work slowed down. However, on April 6, 2021, the statue's arm and head were put into place and the hope is that the entire structure will be finished before the year ends. With the total cost coming up to about $353,000, AACristo is requesting donations to help finish the project. As for the motive behind this statue, it is meant to boost tourism in the area. The highlight of this structure is that it will be the third-tallest statue of Jesus in the world, after a 249-foot statue that is under construction in Mexico at the moment and a 172-foot monument in Poland.
But what makes this statue even more interesting is the fact that an elevator will be installed inside, allowing tourists to look over the horizon at the height of Christ's heart. "It will be a glass opening from where people will be able to film and photograph the valley," said head project supervisor Artur Lopes de Souza on the organization's website. However, this endeavor is eliciting mixed reactions.
One Twitter user wrote: “'...for I am gentle and humble in heart...' ? Brazil's new Christ statue will be bigger than Rio's," to which another user replied: "I feel Brazil could spend its money on it's thousands of impoverished and homeless people rather than this." One person tweeted their agreement saying, "Imagine how many people they could help with the money they’re spending on this. The potential tourism money isn’t going to help those people."
To that, one person pointed out, "I don't think Jesus taught us to spend billions of dollars erecting a statue of him while the poor suffering from hunger." However, there was one user who wrote, "Its private money, they do whatever they want with it. The Association responsible for it do a lot of donations for poor communities. The city of Encantado is not on a covid crisis. Americans should worry more about their racial crisis than with Brazil."
'CHRIST THE PROTECTOR STATUE'— Inquirer (@inquirerdotnet) April 12, 2021
LOOK: View of a Christ statue being built in Encantado, Rio Grande do Sul state in Brazil, on April 9. | 📷SILVIO AVILA / AFP pic.twitter.com/xBJ8UTPeL8
There were also many people who were awed by the statue. One wrote, "Whoa, a new massive Christ the Protector is being built in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, #Brazil! Very cool, though Rio de Janeiro's #artdeco Redeemer is still my favorite giant #Jesus. You really don't have to be religious to appreciate their #beauty."
A similar controversy happened when, in the year 2010, a Christ statue with a golden crown was erected in Swiebodzin, Poland. It had been created by a priest named Sylwester Zawadzki. He had built it 33m tall (108ft) to signify each year that the Son of God lived. Called "Christ the King," it was built with the adornment of a golden king's crown and supposedly even transmits WiFi signals.
The statue ‘Christ the King’ in Swiebodzin, Poland is the tallest statue of Jesus anywhere in the world, and has Wi-Fi transmitters installed in its crown. (Image: MOs810) pic.twitter.com/cmrLdU25tn— Quite Interesting (@qikipedia) September 5, 2019
"I have never been as happy as I am today," Rev Zawadzki had said at the time, according to BBC. "This is the culmination of my life's work as a priest." That structure, too, was at the center of debates where some people stated that it was a good way to promote the town and boost tourism while others criticized how the expenditure would have been better suited for social causes. Some people even find the statue tacky.
Cover image source: YouTube | The Hill