Rio de Janeiro Used Cutting-Edge Technology to Transform Its Giant Jesus Statue Into a Doctor to Honor Healthcare Workers

Messages of hope and unity were projected onto the statue for an Easter Sunday service.

Aerial view of the illuminated statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro. Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images.

With churches and other houses of worship closed to maintain social distancing measures, Brazilian archbishop Orani Tempesta conducted an Easter service at the feet of the Christ the Redeemer statue overlooking Rio de Janeiro—and projected a special message onto the 125-foot-tall statue.

For the second time since the coronavirus escalated to a global pandemic, the statue appeared illuminated with images of the flags of countries hardest hit by the virus, including the United States, China, Spain, Italy, and Brazil, and the words “hope,” “thanks,” and “stay home” written in various languages.

The statue, depicting Christ with outstretched arms, was also dressed up in a doctor’s scrubs, lab coat, and stethoscope as a tribute to the healthcare workers on the front line of the pandemic. Projected images of doctors and nurses also intermittently appeared on the figure, putting individual faces to that vital workforce.

The images that lit up the sky on Easter Sunday provided a different message than the one that Brazil president Jair Bolsanaro has been amplifying. Over the weekend he scoffed at social distancing measures, telling local media outlets “No one will hinder my right to come and go.” Since the first case of COVID-19 was reported on February 26 in Brazil, the number of confirmed cases has risen to 2,000, with 1,230 deaths.

See more images of the illuminated statue, below.

Archbishop of the city of Rio de Janeiro Dom Orani Tempesta performs a mass in honor of medical workers. Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images.

View of the illuminated statue of Christ the Redeemer. Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images.

View of the illuminated statue of Christ the Redeemer. Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images.

View of the illuminated statue of Christ the Redeemer. Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images.

View of the illuminated statue of Christ the Redeemer. Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images.

View of the illuminated statue of Christ the Redeemer. Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images.

View of the illuminated statue of Christ the Redeemer. (Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images)

View of the illuminated statue of Christ the Redeemer. Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images.

View of the illuminated statue of Christ the Redeemer. Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images.

View of the illuminated statue of Christ the Redeemer. Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images.

View of the illuminated statue of Christ the Redeemer that reads “Hope.” Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images.

View of the illuminated statue of Christ the Redeemer that reads “Hope.” Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images.

Archbishop of the city of Rio de Janeiro Dom Orani Tempesta performs a mass in honor of Act of Consecration of Brazil.(Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images)

Archbishop of the city of Rio de Janeiro Dom Orani Tempesta performs a mass in honor of medical workers. Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images.


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