One Man-Made Cathedral

Written by
Kristina Liburd

One Man-Made Cathedral

Written by
Kristina Liburd

One Man-Made Cathedral

Written by
Kristina Liburd
Stay true to yourself, yet always be open to learn. Work hard, and never give up on your dreams, even when nobody else believes they can come true but you. These are not cliches but real tools you need no matter what you do in life to stay focused on your path. ~ Philip Sweet


Many people never reach the clarity of mind to find their sole purpose of life. However, Justo Gallego Martinez found that purpose at the age of 38. And that purpose was to build a cathedral. And to create the cathedral by himself. 

After working as a farmer, he felt God’s calling to join the Trappist monks in Spain. Unfortunately, after contracting tuberculosis, Justo was asked to leave the monastery. A strong devout, he offered his lifetime to build on his family’s farm land a cathedral as an offering to God. 

"I am not an architect or a stonemason. I have never had any training in the building profession. My basic education was interrupted by the Civil War. I was inspired by books about cathedrals, castles and other religious buildings and they gave birth to my own work. But my principle source of illumination and inspiration has always been the Word of Christ." ~ Martinez

Despite 50 years of skepticism, Don Justo, now 91 years old, has kept to his word and his faith. The cathedral now stands 131 ft high and includes a series of huge domes, a crypt, intricate staircases, stained glass windows covering an impressive 24,000 square feet.

Gianfranco Tripodo
Frank O. Sotomayor

I have done it all by myself, mostly using recycled building materials… and there is not a set date for the end of this work.There is still so much to do and I know I won’t be able to finish it in my lifetime. But I will leave it to God to see it through.
Denis Doyle

The officials have turned a blind eye to the man-made cathedral and has become a tourist attraction for Mejorada del Campo. It has also caught the attention of filmmakers who created a documentary about Don Justo’s journey

Gianfranco Tripodo

The pictures cannot do justice, so on your trip visit this visit for your own eyes. Also watch Great Big Story's piece on Don Justo's cathedra belowl.