The Lone Man Who Built a Cathedral by Hand [VIDEO]

This is the project of a lifetime

Oct 26, 2016

They say that faith can move mountains. In the case of 90-year-old Justo Gallego Martínez, faith did something else incredible. Over 50 years ago, the Spaniard, who goes by the name of Don Justo, left his life as a farmer to become a Benedictine Monk. But Don Justo came down with tuberculosis and was eventualyl forced out of the monastery due to his illness. He promised himself that if he survived he would erect a church dedicated to the Lady of The Pillar, to whom he prayed while he was sick. Without any formal training in construction or architecture, Don Justo began building his cathedral some 55-years ago, and hasn't stopped since.

The massive complex 19 kilometers north of Madrid in Mejorada del Campo, encompasses over 8,000 square meters, and is built almost entirely from local materials that he is able to salvage. The cathedral’s design is loosely based on St. Peter’s Cathedral and its astonishing plans live entirely in Don Justo's head. In all these years he has never created formal drawings or engineering plans and relied on the goodwill of the local municipality, which has tolerated his ambitous dream, despite his lack of permits.

The interior of Don Justo's cathedral is roughly half the size of a football field, and the compound includes a crypt below the main building, a complex of minor chapels, cloisters, lodgings, and a library. Despite his old age, Don Justo spends 10 hours a day, six days a week working on his dream, and has been doing so entirely by himself for over 20 years, before receiving help from friends and family. He knows that he will likely never see his house of worship finished in all its glory, and so far noone has stepped forward to take over once Don Justo passes. But nevertheless, this incredible man keeps at his herculian task day after day and said that if he had his life again he would start the cathedral over, but this time would build it twice as big.

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DAVID RUHM, EDITOR & WRITER
David has a passion for languages and words, and loves to see people happy. He writes about inspiring ideas, amazing technologies and all the wonders of the world.

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