Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Giant Jesus statue news: 129-footer planned for Croatian port of Split

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Split viewed from Marjan peninsula, where the city's mayor plans
to erect a 129-foot statue of Christ
Is there some kind of competition going on? Last month I reported on the outgoing Peruvian president Alan García's plan to erect a giant statue of Christ as a parting gift/hubristic vanity statement to the people of the capital city, Lima. García's statue, which was eventually unveiled last week, stretches to a colossal 123 feet, three feet taller than Rio de Janeiro's famous Christ the Redeemer, but it seems his attempt to become 2011's leading proponent of height-dependent devotion could yet be thwarted by Zeljko Kerum, mayor of the Croatian port of Split. Kerum is planning to erect a 129-foot-high Jesus statue on Marjan, a hilly peninsula overlooking the city which used to be home to the summer residence of Yugoslav dictator Josip Tito. This would dwarf* another recent contender for World's Biggest Jesus, "Christ the King" in Świebodzin, Poland, by a whole 21 feet, although in that instance the putative Son of God scales greater heights by way of standing on top of a rather large mound.

As with the Lima statue, Kerum's plans for Split are meeting some opposition, with 4,000 people joining a Facebook group against the erection of the statue. Some object to the financial costs inherent in the construction of enormous representations of religious figures, while others appear to think the initiative is just plain unnecessary. Having visited Split and the Marjan peninsula myself a couple of years ago, I can concur – the area is beautiful enough as it is, and in my view wouldn't benefit greatly from a gargantuan Messiah. And lest that should sound like godless humbug, I'll hand the last word to Marko Gundic, a poster on the Facebook group who simply stated: "If I want to see the statue of Jesus I will go to a church and pray to Him."

* be a bit bigger than
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