Rio's Redeemer statue turns 80


Christ the Redeemer statue Rio de Janeiro
Christ the Redeemer statue, Rio.

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil: When young people gather in July 2013 for the next World Youth Day, they will have an octogenarian among them, so to speak.

Christ the Redeemer, the 125-foot, 699-ton statue that stands above Rio de Janeiro on Corcovado Mountain, recently "celebrated" its 80th birthday.

The famous statue officially became part of the Brazilian landscape on 12 October 1931.

Built by architect Heitor da Silva Costa and French/Polish sculptor Paul Landowski, it was transported to Brazil from France in pieces and taken by rail to the top of the 2,330-foot hill where it now stands.

At the statue's feet is a small chapel dedicated to Our Lady of the Apparition, which can accommodate some 100 visitors.

Blessed John Paul II blessed Rio from the site in 1980, and Pope Benedict XVI is scheduled to visit in 2013 for the events of the 27th World Youth Day.

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