A giant Jesus statue was erected in Syria under cover of a truce among three factions involved in the country’s civil war. The project took eight years to complete after a setback by the civil war that followed a March 2011 uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.
The Jesus statue stands on the Cherubim mountain with its hands outstretched, looking out over a route pilgrims took between Constantinople and Jerusalem in ancient times.
Christians and other minorities are targets in the country’s bloody civil war, making the statue’s safety by no means guaranteed, reports USA Today.
Still, the fact that the bronze Jesus made it to Syria and went up without any incident on October 14 is almost a miracle by itself. The statue stands 40 feet tall and sits on a base that brings its height to about 105 feet, according to the project’s organizers.
The success of the Syria Jesus statue shows the complexity of the country’s civil war, where sometimes the warring parties can reach a short-term truce for strange reasons. The main armed groups in the area include Syrian government forces, rebels, and the local militias of Sednaya, the Christian town near the statue’s site.
The Washington Post notes that all factions ceased fire while organizers set the statue up, according to organizer Samir al-Ghadban. Rebel and government forces sometimes agree to cease-fires to allow the movement of goods. However, they don’t usually admit to having truces.
The project to erect a Jesus statue in Syria was called “I Have Come to Save The World” and was run by the London-based St. Paul and St. George Foundation, directed by al-Ghadban. Photos of the project provided by organizers showed the statue being hauled to the Cherubim mountain in two pieces, then lifted into place by a crane. Smaller statues of Adam and Eve stand nearby.
Most of the financing for the project came from private donors and Russians have been a driving force behind it. Al-Ghadaban added that he began the project hoping the statue would inspire Syria’s Christian minority. The design was inspired by Rio de Janeiro’s Christ the Redeemer statue.
While the Jesus statue made it atop the mountain in Syria, there is no guarantee what will happen to it now. The location is surrounded by villages where some fighters, linked with al-Qaida, have little respect or sympathy for Christians.
[Image via ShutterStock]