The Christ the King statue in Świebodzin, western Poland,
is considered by some to be the tallest statue of Jesus in the world.
It also once had internet antennas on its head, a feature that remains
something of a mystery.
Poland’s Christ the King statue was completed in 2010, at a cost of
around $1.5 million. Upon its inauguration, some 15,000 Christian
pilgrims and tourists came to see the monumental unveiling.
The statue itself is 108 feet tall, but if you include the mound it
sits on and the golden crown on its head, its total height is 167 feet.
This would make it the tallest statue of Christ in the world, surpassing
Cristo de la Concordia in Cochabamba, Bolivia (133 feet) and Rio de Janeiro’s Christ the Redeemer (125 feet).
The statue was financed entirely through donations from the town’s
21,000 residents, along with other outside advocates of the project. Not
all residents were happy, however, quietly and often anonymously
arguing that the money would have been far better spent on new schools,
hospitals, or roads. Many were wary of speaking out in fear of provoking
the wrath of the church in what is a very Catholic town in a
particularly devout country.
More controversy arose 10 years after the statue’s completion. In 2018, the Polish tabloid Fakt 24
noticed that antennas had been installed on top of Jesus’s head, tucked
inside his 9.8-foot-tall golden crown. The agency sent up a drone for a
better look at the equipment and confirmed that the antennas were for
broadcasting an internet signal.
Still, no one seemed to want to provide a clear answer regarding the
statue’s divine broadcasting abilities. Reporters contacted the Divine
Mercy Parish, the religious body that oversees the statue, asking if
they had rented out Jesus’s head. A spokesperson denied all knowledge
and stated that Christ’s crown was not being leased to anyone.
The same reporters then found a source at an unnamed internet
provider, who claimed that the antennas were placed there by request of
the parish. According to the report, the source stated that the local
church needed the network for a video surveillance system, and that the
agreement was completely legal. The source also said that the signal was
being relayed to other clients in the area.
Beyond that, it remained a mystery. Was the head of Christ the King
being monetized in the pursuit of better wi-fi? Was it not profane to
place antennas on the head of Jesus Christ? Opinions vary, but one thing
is for certain: The towering statue is an ideal spot for an antenna
array, providing an unobstructed view across the landscape and
far-reaching internet coverage.
Unfortunately, all that is a thing of the past. The local bishop,
when he learned about the antennas, ordered their removal because many
faithful found them offensive. They were removed on May 9, 2018.
Clancy's comment: I'd have thought this was a resourceful use of a statue.