The cathedral stands in a road referred to as Avenida Antoni Gaudí – however it’s there that the similarity with the mastermind behind Barcelona’s famously unfinished basilica ends. With no constructing information, Justo Gallego Martínez has spent the previous 60 years developing a cathedral along with his personal fingers utilizing nothing however scrap.
In distinction, Gaudi’s well-known Sagrada Familia, which was began greater than a century in the past, must be completed by 2026. There isn’t any timetable – or plan – for Mr Gallego’s cathedral, which appears to be like somewhat like a fort dreamt up by Don Quixote.
In a nondescript suburb 20 kilometres exterior Madrid, the red-brick exterior contrasts with home-made stained glass home windows. The imposing constructing boasts a collection of half-finished towers whereas the partitions inside are embellished with frescoes recounting tales from the Bible.
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Now frail and in his nineties, the person often known as Don Justo has needed to cross on the work to others who’re decided to honour his dream.
“I did this for my religion. All that I’ve accomplished has been for the Lord. It has sustained me all this time. I wished to dedicate my life to this. I do know we’ll end this someday for different folks to get pleasure from,” Mr Gallego advised i.
“God’s will is one thing that should be accomplished. I belief that this constructing will serve to protect the spirits of those that go to.”
Supporters at the moment are making use of to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) within the hope that the unfinished cathedral could be granted protected standing as an merchandise of cultural heritage.
With a contact of somebody from a bygone age when Christianity held extra sway in Spain, Mr Gallego prays three or 4 occasions a day – now from his mattress in his house across the nook from the construct.
As a younger man, he lived for eight years in a seminary as a monk however was expelled after he contracted tuberculosis and risked infecting different monks. As a method of claiming “thanks” to God for saving him from what was then a killer illness, he determined to construct a cathedral in reward.
He returned to his house city within the quiet Madrid suburb of Mejorada del Campo and used an inheritance from his household to show a plot of land into this uncommon tribute to God.
Work started in 1961 and because the lone, eccentric determine laboured on his mission, the preliminary reception from neighbours was hostile.
“They referred to as me the mad priest and insulted me once I began my work, however I didn’t care. What I’ve accomplished, I’ve accomplished for the Lord,” Mr Gallego mentioned. “I’ve by no means been with a lady. For me the Church is my life, my spouse, my baby.”
“I can bear in mind the Spanish Civil War, when folks burnt down church buildings. The Lord requested me to create one thing in his honour,” he added with a smile.
Now, the 96-year-old is barely capable of come to see the works to which he has devoted his life, however he’s decided to be buried there. 4 years in the past, he constructed the crypt the place he intends to be laid to relaxation.
The Roman Catholic Church has blessed the cathedral however has not consecrated it, and it has by no means given Mr Gallego its help. However, he has devoted the constructing to the Virgin del Pilar (Our Woman of the Pillar ) and non secular providers are held inside.
He has put up many of the church by himself, utilizing recycled materials starting from meals tins to previous bricks and different castaways from native factories or constructing websites.
The challenge has been funded by the sale of household land or personal donations however he has by no means acquired public funds.
On the wall is a plaque testifying to the generosity of Banco Santander which contributed €1,000. The profile of the cathedral was elevated when it featured in a tv commercial, attracting extra money for the trigger.
Pictures of Mr Gallego’s creation additionally appeared within the New York Museum of Fashionable Artwork in 2003.