In what was a very moving sight, Brazil's Christ the Redeemer statue lit up with flags of countries around the world and messages of hope recently. It did so in solidarity with countries affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
A symbol of Christianity across the world, the statue is located at the peak of the Corcovado mountain in the Tijuca Forest National Park overlooking the city of Rio de Janeiro. It was illuminated during a special mass conducted by the city's archbishop, Dom Orani Tempesta. As the archbishop urged people to pray for those who were ill, the message #praytogether was projected onto the statue in different languages, as were maps of each individual continent and the flags of countries that have reported cases of the virus.
The art deco statue of Jesus Christ was created by French sculptor, Paul Landowski, and was constructed between 1922 and 1931 by Brazilian engineer, Heitor da Silva Costa, in collaboration with French engineer, Albert Caquot. Romanian sculptor, Gheorghe Leonida, created the face of the statue, which stands 30 metres high, excluding its eight-metre pedestal, with the arms stretching 28 metres wide.
The Christ the Redeemer statue welcomed almost two million visitors last year, but it is currently closed because Rio de Janeiro has declared a state of emergency over COVID-19 and all national parks have been shut. This means the cancellation of sporting and cultural events, and authorities are encouraging people to work from home and avoid large gatherings. Which means that those wanting to see the statue can only admire it from afar for the moment.