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Mammoth statue of Jesus planned for Russian site once set aside for Lenin

An artistic rendering of the statue of Christ planned for Vladivostok in eastern Russia. Image courtesy of Vyatsky Center

MOSCOW (RNS) — Authorities in Vladivostok, the largest city in far eastern Russia, are planning to erect a gigantic statue of Jesus Christ on a site once designated for a monument of Vladimir Lenin.

The statue, which has not yet been approved by the Russian Orthodox Church, is to be 125 feet high – the same height as the Christ the Redeemer monument in Rio de Janeiro, according to blueprints made public by Vyatsky Posad, a Russian Orthodox Christian center. The statue will stand on top of a hill looking east over the Pacific Ocean.

Soviet authorities issued orders for the construction of a 98-foot-high bronze statue of Lenin at the site in 1972. Another statue, of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, was planned to be built on a neighboring hill. But construction hitches meant the plans were repeatedly postponed, before eventually being scrapped altogether in 1990.

Supporters of the Jesus statue are enthusiastic, despite the lack of details about the project. Descriptions of the statue as a “symbol of the unity of the Russian people” that would “bless” ships leaving and arriving in the port city were later deleted from the Vyatsky Posad’s website, for reasons that remain unclear. Attempts by Religion News Service to contact the Vyatsky Center for comment were unsuccessful.

Other Russian media outlets, however, have published blueprints for the project, and plans for the statue were openly discussed at a meeting at the proposed site in late February attended by Oleg Kozhemyako, the regional governor; Ali Uzdenov, a vice president of the Russian business conglomerate Sistema; and Gennady Tsurkov, the head of the Vyatsky Posad center, which is connected to Iliy, an influential monk who is spiritual adviser to Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Tsurkov, in an interview with Russia’s Govorit Moskva radio station, said the statue project had been inspired by Iliy.

“He really wants to put up a statue of Jesus Christ as a protector of our Russia from the east,” Tsurkov said. “He says, ‘we need to make it higher (than the statue in Rio).’” Tsurkov clarified that while the statue itself would be the same height as the Christ the Redeemer monument, it would also stand atop a 98-foot-high pedestal. “Altogether, it will be 68 meters (223 feet),” he said.

Artistic renderings of the statue of Christ planned for Vladivostok in eastern Russia. Image courtesy of Vyatsky Center

Tsurkov said that private investors would fund the construction of the statue but that total costs had yet to be finalized.

Kozhemyako said a small chapel that could hold up to 30 people would also be built close to the statue. “Delegations will just arrive, go in, and light a candle,” the regional governor said, according to online footage of the on-site discussion.

Online opinion has been almost entirely negative. “Is there nothing else for us to spend our money on?” wrote Svetlana, on a forum for residents of Vladivostok. “We’d be better off spending the money on hospitals, schools, roads … ”

Others on the same forum suggested the project could be part of “a money-laundering scheme.”

Roman Lunkin, a religion analyst at the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow, told RNS that it was not certain that the Russian Orthodox Church would approve the project, because the proposed design was more in keeping with Roman Catholic statues and monuments. “There is a tradition in Orthodoxy of putting up crosses, but not statues,” he said.

With the Russian Orthodox Church closely aligned with the Kremlin, Lunkin explained, the project contained a “political-patriotic” element that apparently underlines what President Vladimir Putin has described as the religious values that bind modern Russia.

“This huge statue of Christ is proposed to act as a kind of border post in Russia’s far east to guard our motherland,” Lunkin said. He also criticized comments attributed to Ilya, the patriarch’s spiritual adviser, about making the statue larger than its counterpart in Brazil as an ill-considered attempt to “demonstrate Russian greatness” to the entire world.

Vladivostok, pin, is in far eastern Russia near China and North Korea. Map courtesy of Google Maps

The construction of a massive statue of Christ in Vladivostok would also neatly symbolize Russia’s startling transformation from an officially atheist state in the Soviet era, which ended in 1991, to today’s Christian-majority country. Around 80 percent of Russians currently identify as Orthodox Christians, including Putin, a former KGB agent. Few, however, attend church services or observe religious fasts.

The Vladivostok statue wouldn’t be the first time that a Christian structure has been built on the site of a monument to Lenin. In 2000, Moscow’s Christ the Saviour Cathedral was consecrated at a location within sight of the Kremlin towers, replacing a previous cathedral building that was demolished on Stalin’s orders in 1931 to make way for a planned 1,000-foot-high Palace of Soviets.

The palace, which would have been the world’s tallest building at the time, was to have been topped by a colossal statue of Lenin. Construction was postponed and then later scrapped with the outbreak of World War II.

It’s not only in grandiose architecture that Lenin and Jesus compete in today’s Russia. Gennady Zyuganov, the leader of the modern-day Communist Party, frequently compares Lenin to Jesus Christ and has claimed the Soviet Union was an attempt to establish “God’s kingdom on earth.”

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Marc Bennetts

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  • Gennady Zyuganov, the leader of the modern-day Communist Party,
    frequently compares Lenin to Jesus Christ and has claimed the Soviet
    Union was an attempt to establish “God’s kingdom on earth.”—– Religion in a nutshell.

  • The Russians would do more for Jesus by un-electing Putin and replacing him with a more trustworthy leader for both Russia and the larger world.

  • After scrapping plans for the statues of Lenin and Stalin; the Russians planned to erect a statue to the modern day hero of socialism; Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez. However, the Russians were disappointed to find out that a statue of her will be erected on the current site of the Statue of Liberty.

  • GOT ANY ANTI-FAKE NEWS ON GENNADY ZYGANOV to go with this noteworthy excerpt from this otherwise Russiophobic article (thank you, Marc Bennetts, for not writing in good faith)?

    “The construction of a massive statue of Christ in Vladivostok would … symbolize Russia’s startling transformation from an officially atheist state in the Soviet era, which ended in 1991, to today’s Christian-majority country. Around 80 percent of Russians currently identify as Orthodox Christians, including Putin”.

    HERE YOU GO (and you’re welcome):

    (1) “Only in love, friendship and brotherhood is the salvation of mankind. Even Jesus Christ pronounced these main values ​​on earth. For the first time in history, the idea of ​​creating the Kingdom of God on earth, where labor will be the main ruler, was formulated.”
    – Gennady Zyuganov, Forum Daily: Voice of Russian-Speaking America, April 23, 2015.

    (2) “Zyuganov is a Christian communist. According to Zyuganov, Jesus Christ was the first communist, claiming the Bible may be read through a socialist perspective. Zyuganov also stated that Communism does not need to antagonize the Christian Orthodox Church. Zyuganov, numerous times, during his 1996 campaign spoke of his appreciation for the Russian Orthodox Church, seeking to earn the vote of religious voters. In his first campaign visit to Siberia, Zyuganov proclaimed that he, ‘like Josef Stalin’, had great respect for the Russian Orthodox Church.”
    – Wikipedia, “Political positions of Gennady Zyuganov”.

  • Gennady Zyuganov is a Christian Communist. Do you even know (1) what a Christian is, (2) what a Communist is, and (3) what a Christian Communist is? PROVE IT.

  • Same sheite (no pun intended) different toilet. Neither of these helps humanity in any way.

  • The Jesus images are different…in the top picture, Christ is signaling touchdown like a NFL referee — but in the middle of the article, Jesus has his arms down and palms out like he is saying WTF.

    In both images, Jesus’s robes don’t do him any favors….if your are going to have a biggest Jesus phallic competition with Brazil, maybe some tighter gowns to compete with Rio’s stylish Jesus….who, by the way, in Brazil, is signaling an incomplete pass.

  • When the workers inevitably seize power and bring about Soviet Union II, they should make Jesus hold the hammer and sickle and a decapitated head of Tsar Nicholas II.

  • A guide to Hasbara trolls. by Jonathon Blakeley. https://web.archive.org/web/20111125032004/http://www.zimoz.co.uk/news/elite/a-guide-to-hasbara-trolls/
    Hasbara Troll attributes:
    Supreme point of view. •The Hasbara troll knows best.
    •Condescending & Patronising.
    •Socialist (Smart and ‘caring’).
    •Do not have to be Jewish but Pro-Israel.
    •Internet experts.
    •Narcissistic.
    •Provocative.
    •Disruptive.
    •Like to ask the questions, not answer questions.
    •Control freaks.
    •Inflamed by anyone being critical of Israel.
    •‘Moral’ Guardians.
    •Classic insults: Anti-semite, Neo- Nazi, White Supremacist, Holocaust denier.
    •Adept with social networks well trained on IT.

    It’s Time to Drop the Jew Taboo. It’s making serious discussion of Russian geopolitics and history next to impossible. Charles Bausman Mon, Jan 15, 2018. https://russia-insider.com/en/politics/its-time-drop-jew-taboo/ri22186

  • It is highly unlikely “he is saying ‘WTF'” unless the statue represents him reading your posts.

  • I suppose the fact that he was convicted of one offense on the uncorroborated testimony of ONE witness – in your tiny mind – supports “a lifetime of the criminal rape of children”.

    Nutjob.

  • Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the self-described Puerto Rican “girl from the Bronx” who is set to become the youngest congresswoman in American history next month, added another layer to a complex personal story: She has Jewish heritage. Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, a New York Democrat, made the reveal on Sunday evening at a Jackson Heights synagogue in Queens, telling the crowd that “a very, very long time ago, generations and generations ago, my family consisted of Sephardic Jews.” https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/10/nyregion/ocasio-cortez-jewish.html

    https://forward.com/news/israel/332946/revealed-at-last-inside-the-kibbutz-where-bernie-sanders-lived-and-learned/
    In 1963, Bernie Sanders volunteered at Kibbutz Sha’ar HaAmakim, near Haifa in northern Israel. The kibbutz belonged to the Israeli political party Mapam, which in the 1950s had been a communist, Soviet-affiliated faction. Kibbutz members had admired Joseph Stalin until his death, and they would celebrate May Day with red flags. They spoke of controlling the means of production, taking from each according to his abilities and giving to each according to his needs. https://www.timesofisrael.com/50-years-on-bernie-sanders-still-champions-values-of-his-israeli-kibbutz/

    1983 Book by Jewish Historians Celebrates Jewish Role in Mass Murder of Russians Under Bolshevism. https://russia-insider.com/en/history/1983-book-jewish-historians-celebrates-jewish-role-mass-murder-russians-under-bolshevism

    In 1934, according to published statistics, 38.5 percent of those holding the most senior posts in the Soviet security apparatuses were of Jewish origin. An Israeli student finishes high school without ever hearing the name “Genrikh Yagoda,” the greatest Jewish murderer of the 20th Century, the GPU’s deputy commander and the founder and commander of the NKVD. Yagoda diligently implemented Stalin’s collectivization orders and is responsible for the deaths of at least 10 million people. His Jewish deputies established and managed the Gulag system. https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3342999,00.html

    The Jewish Genrikh Yagoda was the People’s Commissar for Internal Affairs (NKVD) from 10 July 1934 – 26 September 1936. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genrikh_Yagoda

  • Its more like giving a pitiful share of their own money back after shaking them down for tithes.

    Its telling that in Latin America we have some of the largest cathedrals in the Western Hemisphere in places with some of the most destitute conditions. Tells you something about the church’s long time spending priorities.

  • Nope. Let’s shut down bring the worlds policement, having enough bombs to murder everyone many times over, and tax exemptions for churches.

  • When the NEA bills itself as the greatest charity ever, the representative of god on earth, and a force of righteousness in the world, you’ll have a point.

  • No. Your comment is all about the Benjamin’s…
    Since a private group wants to do this; and provide the funds to do it – it should be of no ones concern.
    Perhaps you would feel different if there were two giant ghey guys.

  • You’re so ill informed, it’s funny.
    What you don’t understand is that it’s the people that decide if they want to build a church, how elaborate or simple it’s going to be; and how to support it.
    Many of the most beautiful churches in Chicago were built over time as the people donated money to build it.

  • “He really wants to put up a statue of Jesus Christ as a protector of our Russia from the east,” Tsurkov said. “He says, ‘we need to make it higher (than the statue in Rio).’”

    Just how does making it higher help?

    Sounds a lot like plain, old hubris.

  • Sorry, hit post accidentally.
    Doesn’t the OT forbid the making of graven images? Or is it only the part having to do with the anti-gay agenda that applies?

  • One wonders when seeing an elaborate church, mosque, temple, synagogue, gurdwara, shrine, etc. how many more poor people could have been helped if the funds were diverted from the construction of the building. Excess spend on elaborate places of worship is not a monopoly of any one religion.

    The design as illustrated still has a Soviet era rigid aspect to it. However, the statue would appear to be in a design consistent with the traditions of the larger community of Christians such as the Roman Church, Anglican, Lutheran, etc.

  • The largest churches in the developing world were built by dictatorships. “The people” having no choice or say in the matter. The Catholic Church loved dictatorships only until fairly recently.

    The Liberation Theology decried by the current and retired Pope came out of as the reaction to the Church’s support of military dictatorships all over Latin America.

  • I’ve so missed the virulent anti-semites that used to post on this board. Welcome back! I’m glad to see our Only True Christians (TM) roundly condemning you.

  • Baloney! Since all the secrets have been revealed, I do not feel the need to go there. Also since the last time, I clicked on one of yours, I had alarms going off!

  • I do not feel the need to take mythology with the any degree of seriousness. Even a modern one.

  • Such a statue places the stamp of Christianity. Had the statue of Lenin come up it would have overshadowed the Church while a statue of Christ magnifies the Church next to it. I hope the artists create a more classic version than the renderings.

  • You know, we might actually agree to some extent on this point. As a Christian, I find this proposed statue a waste of money at best, and possibly an outright offense to God at worst.

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