The Christ of the Abyss in Liguria

Wed, 07/22/2009 - 09:43
The Christ of the Abyss
Just off the coast of San Fruttuoso of Camogli in Liguria, 18 metres deep into the sea lies the "Cristo degli Abissi," Christ of the Abyss, a two and a half metre tall statue placed near the spot where Dario Gonzatti, the first Italian to use SCUBA gear, died in 1947.

At the end of July every year, a celebration, including an underwater procession, is held to honour the Christ of the Abyss. A very late evening Mass is held on the beach and a laurel crown is placed at the feet of the statue; the spot is also a popular destination for baptisms and weddings.

The bronze statue was crafted from melted down metal of ships, bells, and the medals of mariners, Olympic athletes, firefighters, and even of soldiers who died in combat, theirs donated by their mothers; the statue is dedicated to those who have died at sea and protects those who continue to emerge themselves in the gorgeous Mediterranean waters.

The Christ of the Abyss is looking skyward with his arms raised offering peace and was recently restored and placed back in the water, having suffered corrosion, a crustacean invasion, and a broken hand from a ship's anchor in the 50 years it had been underwater.

The following video takes you deep into the Ligurian Sea to see the Christ of the Abyss:

The 2009 celebration of the Festa del Cristo degli Abissi will be held 25 July.

If you can't get underwater to visit, though, there is also an exact replica of the statue in the church of San Fruttuoso, and bronze casts of the statue can be found in St. George in the Caribbean, Key Largo in Florida, and various other places both underwater and above ground throughout the world.