The Christ the Redeemer statue that crowns Corcovado mountain, under repair since February after being damaged by lightning, was presented completely restored Friday, two days before this Brazilian metropolis hosts the 2014 World Cup final between Argentina and Germany.
To mark the occasion, the Catholic archbishop of Rio de Janeiro, Cardinal Orani Joao Tempesta, said Mass in the statue’s chapel and blessed the workers.
Corcovado, considered one of the present-day Seven Wonders of the World, had already been repaired on three other occasions and these latest works cost 1.9 million reais ($863,000), paid entirely by Italian tire-maker Pirelli.
Clezi Thadeu, an engineer charged with repairing the monument, told Efe that “the protection system has been improved” so that the figure of Christ the Redeemer will not be damaged by the next lightning bolts that strike the enormous statue.
The Rev. Omar Raposo, rector of the sanctuary located at the feet of the gigantic figure of Christ, said the government contributed no money for the repairs because “it is the church’s private property.”
In return for his financial contribution, Pirelli may use the image of Christ the Redeemer for corporate purposes for three years, though he must received previous approval from the archdiocese of Rio de Janeiro.
More than 300,000 tourists have visited Corcovado to date during the World Cup, which began June 12.
A vote is being taken on Twitter with regard to the World Cup final next Sunday in which users can choose whether the monument should be illuminated with Argentina’s colors or Germany’s during the game.
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