World’s tallest statue of Jesus in Swiebodzin, a western town in Poland

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By Dr. Eugene DSouza, Moodubelle
Bellevision Media Network

20 April 2011: People in Swiebodzin in Western Poland boast that the statue of Jesus Christ with outstretched arms appropriately referred as "Christ the King" is the world’s largest such statue even surpassing the height of “Christ the Redeemer” dedicated in 1931 on a high hill in Rio de Janeiro, the capital city of Brazil with an height of 38 meters (125ft) and “Cristo de la Concordia” erected in 1994 on San Pedro Hill in Cochabamba in Bolivia which is 40.4 meters (133ft) in height.


The height of “Christ the King” statue installed in Swiebodzin is 33 meters(108) feet. According to Rev. Sylvester Zawadzki, the priest who was instrumental in creating this statue, the height of the statue represents one meter for every year of the life of Jesus on the earth. Other members of the construction team, however, gave differing figures of the height of the statue. One said it rises 51 meters or 167 feet if the height of the mound on which the statue is erected and the crown on the head are included, thus making it the tallest statue of Jesus in the world.


’Christ the Redeemer’ in Rio de Janeiro


The gigantic statue of “Christ the King” was a dream and work  of Rev. Sylvester Zawadzki, a retired 78 years old Polish priest.  Though Initially he came up with something much smaller in scale, with the passage of time, ambition grew for the man known around the town as ’the builder priest’ thanks to churches and other projects he had carried out.  Rev. Zawadzki said  that he experienced a call from  Jesus to build the statue. Speaking to the reporters on November 21, 2010,  on the occasion of the unveiling of the statue, Rev. Zawadzki  had said,   "This is the culmination of my life’s work as a priest.”  Further he had said, "I felt inspired to fulfill Jesus’ will, and today I give thanks to him for allowing me to fulfill his will."


The project took around  five years to complete and  cost almost £900,000. The money was collected from donations from across the spectrum to fund the big idea. From business people to poor people contributed whatever they could to fulfill the dream of a priest that would make their country famous.




The statue is chiseled from soft white stone and shows Jesus with his arms outstretched. A distinctive feature of this statue is the golden crown that adorns his head.


The project faced numerous problems along the way. Reports say that as the project was in progress, a skeptical bishop tried to halt the project and officials threatened to withdraw permission for it because of its enormous size.  Due to these hindrances, Rev. Sylvester Zawadzki had a heart attack. However, his determination to see the successful end was so strong that he recovered and resumed his dream project.


Rev. Sylvester Zawadzki


After the statue was carved out in different parts, an attempt to finally mount the figure had to be temporarily given up as  the crane was not powerful enough to lift the enormous arms and shoulders, weighing 30 tons,  onto the standing body. A more powerful crane was brought in, but further delays were caused  due to heavy winds. However, Rev. Zawadzki said he kept the faith all along. "I never had any doubts, not even for a minute," he said.


The link between the Catholic Church and patriotism has been strong in Poland, partly due to the role  of the church in opposing communism. The country still has one of the highest church-going populations in Europe. However, in spite of the fact that Poland has been a strong Catholic country, the statue of “Christ the King” has divided Poles and underlined the deep cultural divide between a deeply Catholic population and an increasingly confident secular society.



There has been criticism of the project. Some Poles see the whole project as ridiculous, while others simply think that such monuments do not represent the spirit of Christianity. Some residents believe the donations which financed the gigantic statue should have been spent on social projects. Some Poles accused Rev.  Sylvester Zawadzki, the priest who created it of megalomania and say its grandiosity violates Christ’s spirit of humility.


In spite of all criticism of his project, Rev. Sylvester Zawadzki had little time for those mocking the project as excessively grandiose.  Answering the critics, he would say, ‘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.’


But many residents in Swiebodzin welcomed the project. They believe it will put their town of 22,000 on the map for tourists and Roman Catholic pilgrims and bring in needed money to renovate the historic buildings in the tiny town center. A man, who traveled from Germany just to see the statue said that he is not religious himself, but that he came out of curiosity and thinks there are others who will do the same. However, whether tourists will really flock to this small Polish town remains to be seen. But in the meantime, the locals are convinced that their giant Jesus in the cabbage field will finally put them on the map of the world.



Comments on this Article
Benedict Noronha, Udupi Tue, April-19-2011, 11:34
One of the most informative and devout write up, come out timely for the benefit of the viewers of Bellevision . Thanks to Dr Eugene. Rev. Sylvester aalso deserves all praise and thanks. may God bless them both for the goodness they shown for the people of the World.
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