91-Year-Old Man Spends 56 Years Building His Own Cathedral Alone


Denis Doyle

Former monk Justo Gallego Martinez has been constructing his own cathedral in Mejorada del Campo, Spain, since 1961. He had no prior knowledge of architecture and hadn’t laid a brick in his life, yet his project currently stands 131ft tall, and acts as a wonderful reminder that faith overcomes everything.

After working as a farmer, deeply religious Martinez joined the Trappist monks, however, after 8 years, he was forced to leave the order due to tuberculosis. During his illness, Martinez (also called Don Justo by many) vowed he would build a chapel to Virgin Mary – to whom he prayed – if he survived the disease.

True to his words, Don Justo started his project when he got back his health. He continues to work on it more than 50 years later despite all the skepticism. Don Justo mainly uses recycled materials and excess items donated by local building companies. The Spanish monk constructed a series of huge domes, a crypt, many intricate staircases, he also set up stained glass windows and the cathedral became a complex structure, covering 24,000 square feet.

No permission has ever been granted for Don Justo’s Cathedral and the man didn’t draw any plans for the building. However, it has become a tourist attraction and authorities turn a blind eye to the project. “If I lived my life again, I’d build this cathedral again, only bigger,” Don Justo told the BBC.

More: Don Justo’s Cathedral h/t: bbc, demilked


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Gianfranco Tripodo


Susana Giron


Susana Giron



Denis Doyle


Frank O. Sotomayor


Frank O. Sotomayor


Gianfranco Tripodo


Gianfranco Tripodo


Frank O. Sotomayor



Denis Doyle


Gianfranco Tripodo

Watch the video version of Don Justo’s story below:

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