The Saga of the Gigantic Jesus Statue that Emitted Internet From its Crown

Alexandra Dantzer
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Photo by King Derbrauni CC BY-SA 4.0

A small town of Świebodzin in Poland is the home of possibly the world’s biggest statue of Jesus Christ in the world. The construction was finalized in 2010 and the statue itself is 108 feet tall, but if you count the mound on which it stands and the crown on its head it reaches an impressive height of 167 feet.

It therefore wins against the 133 feet tall Cristo de la Concordia in Cochabamba, Bolivia, and Rio de Janeiro’s Christ the Redeemer, reaching 125 feet.

Świebodzin. Photo by Mohylek CC BY-SA 3.0

The statue cost $1.5 million and was funded entirely through crowdfunding, with local people and the Polish diaspora as far away as Canada contributing in the building of the statue. It was believed it would bring a miracle to the little town.

The miracle people were hoping for, supported by claims of the local government, was intended to be of economical nature.

Even though in the first year of its construction the statue attracted 15,000 devoted pilgrims and tourists to witness its unveiling, it seems the Christ of Świebodzin did not turn out to be so successful in attracting money — as some sceptics already predicted.

Christ the King

Many residents believed that the money invested towards building the huge statue could have been better spent on repairing roads, building new hospitals or schools.

According to the Guardian, during its controversial construction “Waldemar Roszczuk, editor of the local newspaper Gazeta Swiebodzinska, has been leading a campaign against the structure, which has been compared to the type of communist-era icons that once commanded squares and public places. ‘It’s a monster of a statue which has nothing to do with Christian teaching,’ he said. ‘It’s making us a laughing stock in the whole country.’”

The statue under construction in August 2010. Photo by Mohylek – CC BY-SA 4.0

Last year, the statue attracted even more controversy when it was “upgraded” in secrecy. Something strange was spotted inside the Christ’s crown.

Namely, it was speculated that the crown had been packed full with broadcasting equipment. First it was only speculation, but soon a team of journalists from Polish news outlet Fakt 24 sent a drone over the Christ the King to investigate what exactly is going on with his head.

The statue in September 2012. Photo by Aw58 CC BY-SA 3.0

The journalists confirmed that the Christ’s crown holds internet broadcasting equipment, complete with antennas that are partly visible from the ground.

The journalists proceeded to inquire with the Divine Mercy Parish that is responsible for the statue and oversees it. They asked if the top of Christ’s head was available for rent, having in mind its dimensions.

The monument to Sylwester Zawadzki, builder and curator of the Christ the King, located under the statue, 2015. Photo by Dominikosaurus CC BY-SA 4.0

The church denied this as a possibility. When the journalists asked about the antennas the spokesperson of the parish claimed they knew nothing about it, despite the proof the journalists provided.

However, an internet provider has claimed they are responsible for maintaining the broadcasting signal and confirmed that the request came directly from the parish.

The entrance gate to the Christ the King Statue in Świebodzin, 2015. Photo by Dominikosaurus CC BY-SA 4.0

The source claimed the equipment is used to power the video surveillance system, but that the signal was also distributed to other users in the area. The provider’s spokesperson asserted that the contract is completely legal, so there was nothing problematic about it for the journalists to investigate.

Christ the King

The system operating at such height is ideally placed to broadcast the signal around the whole town, even reaching the surrounding villages.

As Gizmodo reports “the parish might be involved in some sort of effort to monetize the space within the crown of Jesus, but it’s all uncertain.”

The opinions were again mixed, with some people seeing it as a sacrilege and others as a completely legitimate and practical place for installing internet broadcasting equipment.

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However, the whole system was taken down recently and the internet in Świebodzin has lost its status as a potential miracle and is again a mundane technological feature.