The state of Michigan in the United States is known for bordering the Great Lakes, its great hunting and outdoors recreation, and for being home to the big three U.S. automakers.
It also has another claim to fame that isn’t as well known: it is home to the largest crucifix in the world.
Indian River, Michigan has a population of less than 2,000 people, but it has an amazing shrine called the Cross in the Woods. Open 365 days a year, with mass (nearly) every day, it has a giant crucifix measuring 31 ft high, making it the largest in the world.
The corpus was designed by accomplished American sculptor Marshall Fredericks in the 1950s. It took him four years to design it. It was then cast in bronze in Norway and shipped back to Michigan. Apparently, it was one of the largest castings ever to be shipped across the Atlantic Ocean at the time.
Here’s a picture of the crucifix (click on any image to view it full size):
And click here to see a great aerial video of the whole shrine.
The crucifix is just the centerpiece of the shrine. There are lots of other things to see and visit, including the “Nun Doll Museum” we featured previously.
There’s a big church that can seat 1,000 people that was built in the 1990s. Mass is offered nearly every day. There’s a beautiful Stations of the Cross outside.
There are also a bunch of smaller shrines. There are shrines to Our Lady of the Highway, St. Peregrine (patron saint of cancer patients), St. Kateri Tekakwitha, St. Francis of Assisi, and the Holy Family.
Here’s what a few of the shrines look like:
Our Lady of the Highway
St. Peregrine, patron saint of cancer patients
The Holy Family
Finally, there’s a Holy Stairs shrine, which has 28 stairs leading up to the giant crucifix to represent the 28 stairs that Jesus supposedly climbed to Pontius Pilate where he was condemned to death.