WARSAW (RNS/ENInews) A Polish bishop has invited fellow Catholics from around the world to attend an unveiling on Sunday (Nov. 21) of the world’s largest statue of Christ.
The statue, located about 20 miles from Poland’s western border with Germany, rises 213 feet and is visible for at least 10 miles in any direction.
“This is an act of homage, through which we seek to honor the Savior, and recognize his universal reign,” Bishop Zygmunt Regmunt of Zielona Gora-Gorzow, told members of his diocese.
“Being full of trust in Christ, the faith cannot remain only an internal act. It should also be expressed externally; firstly, through a life worthy of the Gospel. The faith also needs certain material signs to give it testimony, and this monument is just such a testimony of faith.”
The reinforced concrete statue, located at the Divine Mercy parish in the small town of Swiebodzin, will be at least 40 feet higher than Brazil’s famous 80-year-old Christ the Redeemer statue above Rio de Janeiro.
Regmunt said the new statue had been a personal project of the local parish priest, the Rev. Sylwester Zawadzki, to commemorate the town’s dedication to “Christ the King” in 2000.
Controversy has accompanied the building project, with some Catholics claiming the statue is a waste of money. There have also been worries about the sculpture’s safety; a crane collapsed when builders tried to place the head, crushing one builder’s foot.
“After overcoming many impediments, the installation of this figure is now happily complete,” the bishop said. “Let participation in the ceremony of Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, be a challenge to our faith and an expression of our will to build our lives on the foundation of Christ’s gospel, in order to help us submit ever more deeply to the royal power of Christ.”