A Man Spent the Last 60 Years Building His Own Cathedral

Andrei Tapalaga

Inside Justo's ChatedralDenis Dobrovoda/OneManChatedral

The souls living on this planet will never stop amazing humanity, sometimes for the wrong reasons, other times for the man-made miracles that question the potential of our kind. Justo Gallego Martinez is one of those souls who had dedicated almost his whole life, not only to God but also to building a Christian cathedral in the name of God. 

Justo was born in 1925 and raised in a Christian family that made him pursue religion from a young age. His mother insisted that he would read the bible and live a life that would honor Christianity. Despite how bright he seems, Justo had to live school at an early age due to the Spanish Civil War that broke out in 1936.

With a wish to dedicate his life to God, he joined the monastery of Santa Maria de Huerta in Soria, Spain at the age of 27. After seven-year, he contracted tuberculosis and was forced to go to Madrid for specialized help. After he was cured, once he returned to the monastery, his monk brothers did not accept him back. They all had a grudge against him for working harder than the rest. 

Justo slowly fell into depression as he did not know how to dedicate his life to God any longer. One day an idea went through his mind, the best way to show his appreciation and dedication to God would be to build a cathedral, despite how long it would take. With no architectural background, he started digging the foundation for the cathedral in 1961

Everything that has been done by Justo in the last 60 years has been done by his own hands, mostly with materials that have been scavenged such as old bricks, tires, and tiles. Justo did not even create an architectural plan, everything was done from the vision he had in his mind. 

A photo of Justo Gallego MartinezDenis Dobrovoda/OneManChatedral

At the beginning of his project, everyone said that he was crazy for attempting to build a cathedral on his own, but as the years went by he received more emotional support as well as financial from the locals. He would even climb 250 meters high on wacky scaffolding with no harness against gusty winds and carrying metal bars.

In the last years, a website has been created where Justo’s work has been presented and also the ability for people to donate to the cause. Here is a video created by those administrating the website of the cathedral in various stages over the years:

In some of the latest interviews, Justo mentioned that he has prepared a burial ground under the Cathedral where he would like to be buried and have his body kept there for future generations to remember that he was the one who raised the cathedral. 

“We are only in transit here on this earth, In the end, it doesn’t really matter what we do here. It’s up there where it counts. What happens to the cathedral is now no longer up to me, I’ve done everything I need to do.” (Quote by Justo Gallego Martínez)

Sadly, Justo passed away on November 28th, 2021, but his dream did not end. A local association from Madrid, Spain is taking care to finish the work started by Justo and promote the cathedral as a tourist attraction. The cathedral has been recognized by the Christian society as being very unique and interesting. 

The ingeniosity presented by one person has surpassed the expectations of any person, especially the locals who never believed that he would go so much over the top to build what can only be considered extraordinary. The lives of people like Justo should be promoted and admired.

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