Chennai, Apr 2 (UNI) A lifesize bronze statue of Pope John Paul II was unveiled here today, coinciding with his first death anniversary.
The 22 feet tall statue, costing Rs four lakhs, was sculpted by well known Karate expert Shihan Hussaini.
The statue was completed and mounted on the pedestal six days after he died, making it the world's first statue of the people's Pope.
A post-graduate student of the Government college of fine arts in the city, Hussaini, who shot to fame with his 'theme statues' of Kalpana Chawla, forest brigand Veerappan's capture and ''Jailed'' Shankaracharya Jayendra Saraswati, said it was a personal tribute to the miraculous powers of the Pope which saved his life on three occasions.
The composition made with bronze, metal reinforced fibre and concrete, depicts the pontiff standing on the top of three large steps blessing the sculptor and the world with his right hand.
In his left hand, he holds a large cross carrying the globe on it. A dove is seen taking off from the globe. There is another row of 26 small steps in between the three steps.
Hussaini explains that the holy pontiff had gone through two stages in his lifetime. In the first stage he was known as Karol Wojteyela. In the second he was the Pope and now he stands at 'the third step' awaiting beatification as a saint.
The 26 steps stand for the number of years of his papacy and the dove on top of a globe atop a cross represent the efforts he took to spread peace in the world through Christianity.
The statue will be on public display at the premises of the sculpture mission till a suitable public place is allotted by the state government, for which a representation is being made.
Hussaini has rightly titled it as ''The Third step ?- St.John Paul II''.
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