- Hi group, article taken from NAROD POLSKI - The Official Publication of the Polish Roman Catholic Union of America for 115 Years! while looking for surnameMessage 1 of 1 , Jan 10, 2013View Source
Hi group, article taken from NAROD POLSKI - The Official Publication of the Polish Roman Catholic Union of America for 115 Years! while looking for surname Zawadzki. Found Father Zawadzski and this article.
Poland dedicates the
World's Biggest Jesus Monument
By Robert Strybel, Our Warsaw Correspondent
Warsaw, Poland - Some 15,000 pilgrims gathered in the western Polish town
of Swiebodzin recently to mark the Feast of Christ the King by dedicating what is
said to be the world's largest statue of Jesus. According to the originator of the
project, Father Sylwester Zawadzki, the 440-ton monument soars to a height of
33 meters (108 feet), making it three meters (nearly 10 feet) taller than the worldrenowned
Brazilian figure of Christ the Redeemer overlooking Rio de Janeiro.
If the gold crown gracing the Polish statue is included, its total height would
be 36 meters (118 feet). Those dimensions were no accident, according to 78-yearold
Father Zawadzki. The height of the statue itself symbolically represents the
33 years Jesus walked the earth, but the crowning touch of his earthly sojourn
were the three years he spent teaching, hence the three-meter crown.
The worshippers marched in procession from the nearby church of Divine
Providence, where the 78-year-old priest had been working before retiring, to the
foot of the newly-built monument. They sang hymns, held up placards
proclaiming "Christ the King of the Universe" and carried religious banners and
Solidarity flags. "Poland - not only be not afraid, but also have the courage to
acknowledge that Jesus Christ can guide your thoughts and hearts, your will and
deeds," Archbishop Andrzej Dziega said in his sermon.
Father Zawadzki first conceived the project back in 2001, when he entrusted
the town to Christ the King. Despite repeated setbacks, including opposition
from his Church superiors, he continued to pursue this nearly impossible task,
winning over officials and finding sponsors. The actual building started in 2006
with the creation of an artificial mound of earth, rubble and stone. No public
funds were used, as the entire project was financed through free-will donations.
"The figure of Christ the King will welcome visitors to Catholic Poland," he
says of his pride and joy, situated about 55 miles from the German border. "This
monument has been built to fulfill a religious and catechetical mission, not as a
Reactions to the project have varied. Many of those who attended the recent
unveiling view the majestic white statue topped with a glistening crown as a
symbol of Jesus embracing all of Poland with his outstretched arms. Some
believe it will become the destination of numerous pilgrimages deepening the
faith of pilgrims. "I watched the monument being assembled on TV and saw it as
rather kitschy, but seeing it in person makes a big impression," said a lady from
the nearby City of Zielona Góra.
But others view it as overly grandiose and tacky, and feel the money could
have been used for worthier causes. "This ugly, oversized statue is a symbol of
our folk religiosity which requires external, physical symbols. I would have
preferred to use the money to build a hospice or other socially useful facility,"
sniffed Adam Szkotkiewicz, a journalist with the ex-communist leftist weekly
Many locals, however, feel the gigantic statue will help put their town of
22,000 on the map and bring a “religious tourism” of sorts to their area. Among
them is Mayor Dariusz Bekisz who put it this way: "Whether people come for
spiritual reasons or out of curiosity, they will leave money behind and aid the
Since 966, when the Polish King Mieszko was baptized and the Polish people
thereby became members of the Roman Catholic church, Poland has been and
still is a strongly Catholic country. Pilgrimages to religious shrines throughout
the country are the norm. It is heartening to know that even in this age of
commercialism, Poles are still as strongly devout as ever.