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Tallest Statue Of Christ In Asia Erected In Manado

Updated: December 09, 2007 05:00 PM GMT
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Manado, capital of Protestant-majority North Sulawesi province in eastern Indonesia, now has the tallest statue of Christ in Asia, thanks to a top Indonesian real-estate developer.

The 30-meter-tall statue of Jesus with upraised hands stands on a 32-meter-high hill named Royal Highland in CitraLand Estates, Winangun, southern Manado. Ciputra is both the developer of CitraLand Estates and the designer of the statue he calls the "Jesus Blessing Monument."

The Christ statue is said to be Asia´s tallest, three meters taller than the statue of Christ the King outside Dili. Worldwide, only the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, which stands 39.6 meters tall, is known to be taller.

The monument´s stand is inscribed with the phrase Torang Samua Basudara, the province´s slogan, which means "we are all brothers and sisters," in the local dialect. It was built at a 20-percent angle.

Ciputra, 76, a Protestant engineer who graduated from the city´s Catholic-run Don Bosco Senior High School, said at the statue´s inauguration that the tilt symbolizes the Resurrection and how Jesus blesses his disciples before ascending to heaven.

On Dec. 2, North Sulawesi Governor Sinyo Harry Sarundajang inaugurated the monument. Sacred Heart Bishop Josephus Suwatan of Manado and Reverend Roy Tamaweol, vice chairperson of Minahasa Messiah Evangelical Church (GMIM, Indonesian acronym), attended the ceremony. Minahasa is the name of the main ethnic group in the province as well as its largest district.

Sarundajang thanked Ciputra for building the monument, calling it a religious icon as well as an attraction for the World Ocean Conference, to be held May 11-15, 2009, in Manado, 2,215 kilometers northeast of Jakarta.

Father Petrus Tinangon, vicar general of Manado Catholic diocese, told UCA News on Dec. 3 that the monument acclaims Manado as a predominantly Christian city. The priest noted, however, that aside from people of other religions, North Sulawesi is home to many Christian denominations, and some do not agree with depicting Jesus in statue form.

During the inauguration, Paulus Pangka, director of the Indonesian Museum of Records confirmed the statue´s record-breaking height.

Meanwhile, Davis Sumanti, general manager of CitraLand Estates, promised to send a proposal to the Guinness Book of World Records asking the statue be recognized as the world´s tallest "flying statue." He explained to UCA News on Dec. 6 that the statue is "flying at a certain angle."

According to Sumanti, the construction used 25 tons of metal fiber and 35 tons of steel, and cost about 5 billion rupiah (US$540,000). "Ciputra himself initiated the monument," he said, noting that work on the statue proceeded for two years in the yard of his Ciputra´s house in Jakarta. "Then we constructed it here in eight months."

For Sumanti, the monument "welcomes" people to Manado, whose authorities want to turn into a world-class tourist destination by 2010.

Protestants form about half of North Sulawesi´s 2.1 million people and Muslims make up another 44 percent, he pointed out. So before starting construction, Ciputra asked all the province´s religious leaders´ for their reactions. "They welcomed the monument because we built it not as an object for religious activity, or as a shrine, but for tourism," Sumanti said, adding that the monument was not designed to elicit adoration from the people.

END

(Accompanying photos available at here)

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