Thumbs down for giant Jesus statue in the Bavarian Alps

November 16, 2007

Christ the Redeemer statue overlooking Rio de JaneiroA German businessman has plans to erect the world’s largest statue of Jesus Christ on a mountaintop in the Bavarian Alps. Neither the Catholic nor the Protestant churches there want it. A poll for the television channel Bayerischer Rundfunk showed 77.54 percent of those responding are also against it. The planners are not giving up, however. In a press release this week, they urged their critics to use the coming Christmas season to reconsider and open their hearts to “more tolerance and positive participation.” That includes a fund drive to raise the two million euros the project will cost.

Harry Vossberg, a construction magnate from Dresden, has launched an association called Christian Initiative Predigtstuhl to collect money for the over 50-meter-high statue. That would make it at least 10 metres higer than the famous Christ the Redeemer statue overlooking Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. In its PR, the association calls the statue “the eighth wonder of the world.”

The giant statue, constructed to the highest artistic standards, will be built with the help of prestigious experts, engineers and statue artists out of permanently weather-proof and environmentally friendly materials,” said the press release announcing the project last month. “The exact height is secret. Completely new composite materials, such as ‘liquid wood,’ will be used. The base of the statue will include a room for pilgrims to pray and meet.”

Christ the Redeemer statue in RioThe statue would be built on a mountain appropriately known as the Predigtstuhl , or Sermon Chair, in the Bad Reichenhall spa area close to the Austrian border. There is already a hotel there, built at an altitude of 1,583 metres above sea level. It even has a webcam to show the breathtaking views over the Alps from the peak.

An official for the archdiocese of Munich told the agency that the Catholic Church preferred a large cross or a chapel, not “a colossal Christ.” In the Protestant weekly Sonntagsblatt, the local Lutheran pastor called it “much too bombastic” and said an ecumenical chapel would suffice.

Does anybody out there think this is a good idea?

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