VIA Voice of Russia
A grandiose sculptural composition – the statue of Jesus Christ, 39-meter-high – called “I have come to save the world” has been placed on the legendary Cherubs’ Mountain in Syria. This statue that can be well seen from Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, and Israel is the symbol of peace not only in Syria but also in the whole Middle East Region. In an interview with the VoR Director of the St. Paul and St. George Foundation Samir Shakib El-Gadban, one of the participants of the work to erect the statue of Jesus Chris in Syria and one of the authors of this idea, said a few words about this initiative.
The idea to erect the statue of Jesus Christ came into being when there was peace in Syria. It was a big project aimed at the restoration and strengthening of centuries-long ties between Russia and the countries of the Middle East.
“After this idea emerged in 2005 it was blessed by Patriarch Ignatius IV of Antioch and the Middle East, who was the author of this idea. Jesus Christ who is offering his blessings is trampling upon a snake, which is the symbol of evil. There is Adam on his right side and Eve on his left side. The Patriarch of Antioch chose the Cherubs’ Mountain because cherubs, as is known, is a symbol taken from the Old Testament, which is used by the Christians and which is accepted by the believers of Islam.”
Taking part in the work, which required 8 years were Syrian priests, theologians from the Holy Trinity St. Sergius Laura (Russia), and sculptor from Armenia. The final stage proved the most difficult because the placement of the statue of Jesus Christ on the top of the Cherubs’ Mountain took place during the hostilities in Syria.
“It was practically impossible to bring the necessary equipment to the site because all roads were blocked. Some of them were controlled by the rebels and some – by the Syrian army. Hence, it was necessary to reach agreement with the two sides so that it would be possible to bring the equipment to the mountain peak, which was finally done. None of the two sides had fired a shot within the period of 3 days.”
The fact that the statue of Jesus Christ has appeared in the country where the Muslims make up a majority is not surprising at all, Samir Shakib El-Gadban said, stressing that the statue “I have come to save the world”, spiritually, meant much not only for the Christians but also for the Muslims and Jews. It may become the symbol of peace in the Middle East, he added. Christ is for all nations, he said in conclusion.
It is symbolic that the monument was placed in Syria on the day which is celebrated by the Christians as the Day of the Protection of Mother of God and when the Muslims of the whole world made a hajj to Mount Arafat.