SWIEBODZIN, Poland – A gigantic statue of Jesus that Poles claim is the world’s largest rose majestically above a small town on Saturday, as the grandiose dream of a local priest finally came to pass.
The white statue with outstretched arms and golden crown rising above the western Polish plains in Swiebodzin provides competition to Rio de Janiero’s iconic Christ the Redeemer.
The mayor of the western Polish town, Dariusz Bekisz, claims it is now the world’s tallest.
Rev. Sylwester Zawadzki, the 78-year-old priest who created the statue said it rises 108 feet, or 33 meters — one meter for every year that Jesus lived. Other members of the construction team, however, gave differing figures. One said it rises 167 feet (51 meters) if you include a mound it sits on and the crown on the head.
By comparison, the statue in Brazil’s Rio is 125 feet (38 meters) tall.
By Vanessa Gera, Associated Prass, November 6, 2010
Marta Kucharska contributed to this report.