The world's biggest statue of Jesus is coming to one of the most dangerous parts of Mexico.
Eduardo Verastegui, a prominent Mexican Catholic actor and pro-life advocate, plans to build the statue called "Christ of Peace" at a towering 252 feet, nearly twice the size of Rio de Janeiro's Christ the Redeemer, which stands at 125 feet in Brazil. The current record holder is Christ the King statue in Poland, which is 172 feet high.
The new statue of Jesus, designed by Mexican architect Fernando Romero, will depict Christ with outstretched arms as if offering a hug to His people, Mexico News Daily reported.
Promoters say it will show "a message of faith, love, hope, and peace" to Ciudad Victoria, the capital of Tamaulipas, a state that borders Texas along the U.S.-Mexico border. The state has recently been rocked by violent confrontations between security forces and drug dealers, but Verastegui said the purpose of the project is to leave a legacy of peace in the region.
Developers hope to turn the area into a thriving tourist destination and a place of pilgrimage that will be able to hold up to 10,000 people for special events.
Along with the massive Jesus statue, the site will have a church, restaurants, a market, convention center, hotel, pilgrims lodging, amphitheater, commercial properties, and cable car stations along with parking.
Romero's firm also designed the Mexico City airport.
Verastegui -- who became famous in Mexico for singing, modeling and acting in telenovelas -- hopes Christ of Peace can transform the area much the same way He changed his life.
"I understood that I was not born to be an actor or something else, but to know, love and serve Jesus Christ," Verastegui said in 2003 after vowing chastity and pushing an effort to make Catholic and pro-life films, one of the most successful being "Bella."
He plans to present the project to Pope Francis soon. LifeSiteNews reports no details about the funding or projected costs have been released, but Catholic church officials said they expect to break ground early this year.