Polish Town Erects World's Largest Jesus Statue

A small town in western Poland has erected a statue of Jesus that workers say is now the world's largest – even larger than the Christ the Redeemer creation in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The Rev. Sylwester Zawadzki, a 78-year-old retired Polish priest, led the $1.45 million project in Swiebodzin over the last two years. It was funded by donations from local business people and other residents who wanted to make a contribution to the church and also create a tourist draw to bring money into their community.

The Jesus statue stands tall with arms outstretched, similar to Christ the Redeemer. The head is topped with a golden crown. The artist, Tomek, estimated the statue to be 167 feet, including the mound it sits on and the crown, as reported by The Associated Press.

Poland is predominantly Roman Catholic. Eastern Orthodox believers and Protestants make up 1.3 percent and 0.3 percent of the population, respectively, according to the CIA World Factbook.

A similar project is also being undertaken by a church in the United States. Solid Rock Church, a megachurch in Monroe, Ohio, with more than 4,000 members, plans to build a 61-foot high statue of Jesus with the name "Come Unto Me." Their previous 62-foot-high "King of Kings" statue – also dubbed "Touchdown Jesus" – was destroyed in June when it was hit by lightning.

Designers of the Monroe statue say it will take more than six months to complete and is scheduled to be finished next spring. This time around, the new statue will be made of non-flammable materials and have a lightning-suppression system. The estimated cost is between $250,000 and $750,000.

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