From the first stone laid in October 1961 on the day of the Virgen del Pilar until today, the world has been amazed at each stone raised by Justo Gallego to build his imposing cathedral made with recycled materials. In permanent construction for more than half a century and without plans, building licenses or technical projects, the Justo Cathedral has always lived with the ghost of demolition.
The fear of the neighbors and visitors before the possible goodbye of the temple the day that its builder is not has generated the first reactions.
All the political groups present in the plenary session of the town council of the town approved a motion presented by the UPyD party for the legalization of the Justo cathedral and its protection as an Asset of Cultural Interest. From here it is up to the municipal government to gather all the necessary documentation and prepare the reports and plans to start the file.
Beyond the paperwork and recognition as an Asset of Cultural Interest, Justo Gallego is clear that the cathedral is much more than a place of visits. ANDIt is a temple for prayer dedicated to the Virgen del Pilar but first it has to be finished and officially authorized to give mass.
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A man's dream
The story of Justo Gallego is a story of faith and effort to achieve a dream. In 1925 he was born in Mejorada del Campo and, because of his firm religious beliefs, he decided to spend his youth in the Santa María de Huerta monastery of Soria. Tuberculosis truncated his plans and he had to abandon it in fear of a massive contagion.
He managed to overcome the illness some time later but began to become depressed because that episode cut off his desire to dedicate himself to religious life. However, God had other plans for him. The popular saying has it that the ways of the Lord are inexcrutable and in the 60s, Justo Gallego found another way to give meaning to his life: to build a cathedral dedicated to the Virgen del Pilar in his hometown.
What is surprising about his history is that without having any knowledge of architecture or construction he began to build his cathedral on a farm field of his property. Uniquely inspired by the great cathedrals he had seen in numerous art books.
He was selling his possessions to pay for the expenses of the purchase of materials until they were exhausted. Later he continued using recycled materials and with the help of individuals and companies interested in his project.
Knowing your project
Currently the Cathedral of Justo in Mejorada del Campo occupies an area of 4.740 square meters with incredible measurements: 50 meters long and 20 wide with a height of 35 meters up to the domes. It also has two 60-meter towers and all the characteristic elements of a Catholic cathedral: altar, cloister, crypt, staircase, stained glass windows, etc.
As if that were not enough, this temple is also an example of commitment to the environment since a large part of the materials used in its construction comes from recycled products donated by construction companies in the area.
Contrary to what many believe, the Mejorada del Campo cathedral is today a private place, not a public one. However, Justo opens the doors so that those interested in his work can contemplate it up close and, if they wish, they can contribute with small donations.
What will happen next?
At the moment, the survival of the Mejorada del Campo Cathedral after the death of its builder is a mystery despite the fact that it seems that the city council has put a plan in place to turn it into a Site of Cultural Interest.
In any case, those who have joined his cause over the years say that after Justo's death, they will fight to make his dream come true. For his part, Justo affirms that he has built his cathedral to glorify God and that he feels happy with what he has already achieved in his life.
Where is the Justo cathedral?
On Calle Antonio Gaudí s / n in Mejorada del Campo (Madrid). From Madrid you can get there by car in about half an hour. The entrance to visit it is free but donations are accepted to finish it. The hours are from Monday to Friday from 09:00 a.m. to 18:00 p.m. and Saturdays from 09:00 a.m. to 16:00 p.m. Sundays and holidays closed.
Any person, believer or atheist, who knows how to recognize the effort and tenacity of this humble old man will enjoy contemplating this incredible project of enormous dimensions that for more than half a century has been in Mejorada del Campo defying the passage of time.