Former Monk Spent 50 Years Building This Incredible Cathedral From Junk (18 Photos)

It’s a simple ex-monk’s act of faith and it’s truly awe-inspiring, to put it mildly.

Former Trappist monk, now an 86-year-old farmer Justo Gallego Martinez, also known as Don Justo, has worked on building a cathedral at Mejorada del Campo near Madrid since the early 1960s. He had no construction experience and no architectural training. And if that’s not impressive enough, he painstakingly built it piece by piece over 50 years… from junk!

 
The as yet unfinished building features giant spires and comes with a magnificent dome that can rival that of St. Peter’s Basillica. It’s almost impossible to believe this impressive cathedral has been single-handedly built by a former monk who’s never laid a brick before.

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Javier Martin Espartosa │ via Daily Mail

Despite five decades of painstaking toil, the 131 feet cathedral is far from finished.

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Javier Martin Espartosa │ via Daily Mail

This incredible structure’s eye-catching centerpiece is its huge dome made from plastic food tubs.

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Javier Martin Espartosa │ via Daily Mail

The building is based on a variety of European churches and castles, most particularly the St. Peter’s basilica in Rome.

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Javier Martin Espartosa │ via Daily Mail

Parts of the cathedral’s interior and exterior are painted and designed to depict scenes from the Bible.

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Javier Martin Espartosa │ via Daily Mail

Don Justo at work. He has spent the last 50 years collecting junk and discarded building materials in order to build the cathedral.

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The deeply religious Don Justo spent eight years at a Trappist monastery. He was forced to leave in 1961 when he was struck down with tuberculosis. During his illness, he vowed that if he survived, he would build a chapel and name it after the Virgin Mary. But apparently, he’s building more than just a chapel.

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Don Justo’s cathedral has never had planning permission. However, it is believed to be tolerated since it has become a tourist attraction over the years.

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Oil drums, which Don Justo found at local areas and construction sites make up the cathedral’s pillars.

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Javier Martin Espartosa │ via Daily Mail

Its giant towers dwarf surrounding apartments leaving some residents in the area to consider the building as an eyesore.

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Javier Martin Espartosa │ via Daily Mail

Don Justo occasionally gets help from his six nephews. He estimated six years ago that it might take him another two decades to complete the structure.

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With windows left unpainted, one of the domes yet to be covered, and the floor to be completed, it might just take him that long.

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REX/Sipa Press │ via Daily Mail

A number of the staircases in the cathedral are still unfinished. Don Justo says he might not live to see the cathedral completely done.

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Javier Martin Espartosa │ via Daily Mail

Staying true to his promise, Don Justo has named the cathedral after the Virgin Mary.

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View of the grounds of the cathedral as seen from one of its spires – the tallest is around 131 feet tall.

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Javier Martin Espartosa │ via Daily Mail

A 1993 photo of the cathedral.

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The impressive structure pictured surrounded by trees.

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REX/Sipa Press │ via Daily Mail

In an interview with BBC, he said:

‘When I look at what I’ve created, it overwhelms me and I give thanks to the Lord. If I lived my life again, I’d build this cathedral again only bigger. Twice the size, because for me, this is an act of faith.’

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Javier Martin Espartosa │ via Daily Mail

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