Building a cathedral is a major undertaking. You could hire architects and builders and it would still be a lot of work. Doing it on your own sounds impossible. But Justo Gallego Martinez, a former Spanish monk, decided to take on the challenge. So, for the past 56 years he has been building a cathedral in Spain all by his lonesome. The ironic thing is that he had no previous knowledge of how to build anything. But with the help of his faith and lots of determination, he managed to achieve the impossible. His story will prove to you that nothing is impossible.He started construction on a site in Mejorada del Campo, Spain, and he’s been at it ever since. But imagine what it must have been like to create all the pillars, arches and entryways from scratch. It would give even the most experienced architect pause for concern.
Locals call the building the Don Justo’s Cathedral after the man who has spent the past 56 years of his life constructing it. A lot of the materials used to turn this dream into a reality has come from recycled and excess items donated by building companies.
It turns out that there’s a heartbreaking reason behind his ingenuity. Decades ago, Martinez contracted tuberculosis. The other Trappist monks feared he would spread the disease to the others, so they forced him to leave their order.
While struggling to recover, Martinez, who was known as Don Justo, made a promise to himself that he would build a chapel in honor of the Virgin Mary if he managed to survive his difficult illness. And he did.
So, once he was back to full strength, he started working on the massive project. It didn’t look like much at first, but over time, the building continued to grow and look like the impressive masterpiece it was destined to become.
Martinez didn’t go through any official channels to get permission to construct his chapel. He didn’t have any construction plans either. He simply started laying brick after brick, which eventually took shape into the building it is today.
He had inherited the piece of land from his mother, and it’s on that site where he initiated the project. After that, it became his mission to construct the church from anything he could find, and his genius knew no bounds.
But it was all Martinez’s work and the church’s concrete pillars were made out of secondhand car tires. Essentially, the former monk managed to MacGyver his way through most of the challenges of constructing this church.
Martinez managed to construct his church without using any cranes. So, the way he managed to build, hammer, and cement from so high is really amazing! Clearly, this strong-willed former monk had his faith to carry him all the way through any challenge.
If he were given the chance, he’d do it all over again. This church was his life’s mission, and it was one he was determined to see through to the end. Now he has a place of worship of his very own and locals and tourists can admire it, too.
From the spires to the stained-glass windows to the various domes up above, the work Martinez put into this project is jaw dropping. He even added a crypt, cloister and various spiral staircases, too. But to this day, Martinez can be seen dragging materials to add to this giant cathedral.