Christ of the Abyssby MSO
“If we are born of water, so shall I return. Surround me with nature’s beauty, not in her darkest tomb.” ~ Author Unknown
There are three statues in the world that were all cast from the same mold, two of which are located under the waters of the seas. They are among the world’s most popular locations for divers and snorkelers and have also become known as the world’s most chosen sites for a burial at sea. Many people have requested to have their ashes spread on the surface or sent to the deep in biodegradeable urns. In recent years memorial celebrations have been made available by a variety of companies that will bring families and friends to these locations for a burial at sea.
“Il Cristo degli Abissi” or “Christ of the Abyss” was created by Italian artist, Guido Galletti in 1954. The statue depicts Christ in a pose offering peace with His hands and head raised toward the surface.
Galletti was influenced by Italian diver Duilio Marcante who wanted a symbol that would inspire all people who loved the sea. The completed statue was placed in the Mediterranean Sea on the Italian Riviera near the spot where Italy’s first SCUBA diver, Darius Gonzatti, died during a dive in 1947. The 2.5 meters statue is cast in bronze and was placed on a base 17 metres below the surface.
A second bronze sculpture cast from the original mold was presented as a gift by the Costa Steamship Line to the people of Grenada for their help in rescuing the 400 passengers and 300 crew members from the Bianca C cruise ship which caught fire after an explosion in the harbor in 1961. Christ of the Deep stands guard on the harbor in thanks to the people of Grenada. To mark the 50th anniversary of the explosion, a new statue modelled on the original has been made for an underwater sculpture park in the harbor.
A third bronze cast of the same statue was presented by Italian dive equipment manufacturer Egidi Cressi to the Underwater Society of America in New York in 1962. On August 25 1965 it was placed approximately 25 feet off the shore in the waters of Key Largo, Florida which is known as the “Dive Capital of the World”. Plaques, monuments and other memorabilia can be found underwater near this statue.