On May 17, 1959, the Shrine of Christ-King is inaugurated. On that day, 300 thousand people wanted to be present to celebrate Christ, King and Redeemer, in the Statue then built.
After fifty years, what has the Shrine to offer to its visitors?
The preeminent Monument to Christ-King is the corner stone of this space, but the hectares of ground of the Shrine have today a lot more to offer to its pilgrims.
Planned by Architects Luiz Cunha and Domingos Ávila Gomes, this building, inaugurated in 1996, but whose construction only ended in 2007, is situated at the entrance of the Shrine, greeting the visitors.
It is a multipurpose building. In the subbasement we find two dormitories with capacity for 52 people. The basement has a multiuse hall, four dining-rooms which can serve up to 350 people, two kitchens, restrooms and bathrooms. On the ground floor we find the reception hall, an internet room and restrooms, as well as the residence of the Rector and the residence of the Religious Community. On the first floor there are two multiuse galleries, the Rectory and the Administration Office. On the second floor there are two halls with capacity for 200 people, a chapel and a library. The third floor has two dormitories for 20 people, restrooms and meeting hall for 50 people.
Exterior Stations of the Cross
Along the view terrace facing Lisbon we find the 14 Stations of the Cross.
On each Station is written a text of the Gospel related to that event, a meditation and a prayer. With this work, the Shrine aims at creating a more spiritual environment in the entire enveloping space.
The Tall Cross, facing Lisbon, came from the Shrine of Fatima. In fact, this cross had been venerated in Cova da Iria from October 13, 1951, up to the time when it was removed to give way to the construction of Most Holy Trinity Church.
It was donated to the Shrine of Christ-King on February 13, 2007, and inaugurated on May 17 of the same year, on the Shrine's Anniversary. The Tall Cross represents the gemination of the two shrines and of the message of peace which both transmit.
The Monument to Christ-King faces Lisbon; it was built on a hill overlooking the River Tagus; and rises up 113 meters above ground. It shows Christ with open arms as if wanting to embrace the City of Lisbon and the whole Country. The statue sits on a pedestal made of four pillars in the shape of an arch, which represent the four cardinal points. Since the arch is also the architectonic expression of the idea of triumph, they symbolize, then, the triumph of the universal kingship of Christ over the whole world, which is represented by the ring that circles the Monument.
The detail of open arms in the statue of Christ-King was needed so that Christ could be visible in the contours of His human figure and not confused with the uniform silhouette of a straight line shooting up towards the sky. His Heart can easily be seen atop his chest, suggesting that He wants to conquer for Himself all mankind by means of His Love.
The whole set is 113 meters high: the statue 28, the pedestal 82, the base 3. The base of the Monument measures 625 square meters.
On the main door of the Monument we find the Ten Commandments, in bronze, by Architect Sousa Araújo. In the interior, at the entrance hall, one can see two oil paintings which represent the Berlin Wall and the Consecration of the World to the Immaculate Heart of Mary by Pope John Paul II, in 1984.
In the interior of the four pillars of the Monument is the Chapel of Our Lady of Peace. And let us not forget the niche of the Angel of Portugal (or of Peace) giving Holy Communion to the Little Shepherds of Fatima, a sculpture of 2007 by Architect Sousa Araújo.
*Volume of reinforced concrete: 20,000 cubic meters
*Over-all weight of the Monument: 40,000 tons
*Depth of foundation: 14 meters
*Minimum visibility: 20 km
Details of the Statue:
*Head: 4.05 meters
*Heart: 1.98 meters
*Arm: 10 meters
*Sleeve (height): 5 meters
*Distance finger to finger: 28 meters
Dedicated to Pope Blessed John XXIII, in whose pontificate the Monument was inaugurated, in 1959, this hall exhibits some works of art linked to him. Worth mentioning is the chalice donated by John XXIII to the Shrine of Christ-King, chalice which had earlier been donated to him by the Shrine of Fatima, in 1956, when he visited that Shrine. Also eight oil paintings by Architect Sousa Araújo, inspired in the Encyclical Pax in Terris of the same Pope.
Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament
In the interior of the Chapel, right in front of one entering it, there is a space reserved to the Blessed Sacrament. This space is enriched by two fabric panels representing a tent, which encloses the Tabernacle, made of bronze, and, at the center, an oil painting allusive to the Apocalypse of St. John, topped by another one inviting us to a Holy Hour.
This space is still enriched by two paintings representing, respectively, the Agony of Jesus in the Garden and the Revelations of Jesus to Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque.
Next to the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament, there is Mercy Hall, inaugurated on May 17, 2009.
This space is enriched by three oil paintings: one allusive to the Hour of Mercy (3h00 P. M.), according to the Revelations of Jesus to Saint Faustina Kowalska, on the 30's of last century; a polyptych or set of 15 paintings;and a large one at the center, dedicated to our Lady of Mercy. Besides these three, there are 15 minor ones related to the Works of Mercy and another one related to the institution of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, according to St. John.
Also next to the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament is the Sacristy, with a headroom of 14 meters, where we find the model of the statue of Christ-King and a painting representing the Immaculate Conception, Patron of Portugal.
The shaft of the elevator is built in form of a spiral, with a glass opening at the roof, so that one can watch the entire 80 meters of the pillar.
This environment evokes for us Man's Heavenly vocation. 17 meters up we can observe the Ascension of Jesus into Heaven, according to the Gospel of St. Luke.
To the side of the elevator's door, we find the figure of Christ Crucified engraved in dry point on copper plate, by Architect Sousa Araújo. This work was inspired by an oil painting that the artist donated to Pope Paul VI.
AT THE HEIGHT OF 84 METERS
Arrived at the top floor, next to the stairway, one can observe a painting of Our Lady, under the title 'Ark of the Covenant'.
Before the terrace, it was inaugurated, on May 17, 2008, the Chapel of the Confidants of the Heart of Jesus.
Here we find the Relics of Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, Saint Faustina Kowalska, Blessed Maria do Divino Coração and Saint John Eudes.
These saints are represented here, besides through the relics enchased in the altar, in three oil paintings.
In the zone of the altar can be seen two bas-reliefs in bronze, which represent the Annunciation of the Angel to Our Lady and the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Still on this floor there is a space where the pilgrims or visitors may purchase souvenirs of the Shrine of Christ-King and other articles.
In the terrace we contemplate the beautiful Statue of Christ-King, including His Divine Heart, sculpted on His chest.
Weather permitting, the visitor will enjoy a magnificent view, in a radius of more than 20 km, over the two margins of the River Tagus: the City of Lisbon with its typical neighborhoods and historical monuments, such as the ' Mosteiro dos Jerónimos' (Monastery of the Friars of St. Jerome), Tower of Belém, Monument to the Discoveries, Palace of Ajuda, Vale de Alcântara, Monastery of St. Vincent Extra-Walls, St. George's Castle, Vasco da Gama Bridge, etc.
From the terrace one can still see Seixal Bay, 'Mar da Palla' (Sea of Straw), as well as the Sierra of Arrábida and Palmela Castle.
On a clear day we can still the Sierra of Sintra, with its Palace of Pena and the zone of the Sanctuary of Cabo Espichel, Sesimbra.