If only those pesky Kentuckians hadn’t put up a 60-foot crucifix in Bardstown, the 55-foot cross at Indian River’s Cross in the Woods Shrine could still say it was the world’s biggest. Either way, its size is still awe-inspiring. The redwood cross was erected in 1954 and the cast metal Christ figure was added four years later after being shipped from Oslo, Norway. It is traditional for pilgrims to climb the 28 steps to the cross (one for each step Jesus is supposed to have climbed to stand before Pontius Pilate) on their knees.
And it’s all there in black and white – the 500+ collection of dolls and mannequins dressed to represent the garb of over 217 religious orders of priests, sisters, brothers and diocesan clergy is housed in the basement of the shrine’s gift shop. It includes dioramas of nuns in the classroom and the all-nun orchestra.
There are also stations of the cross, a modern chapel, and a bronze statue of “The Lily of the Mohawks,” a Native American convert to Christianity in the 1600s who was known for leaving hand-made wooden crosses in forests.
Visit the official web site for The Cross in the Woods.
Photos © 2010 Linda S. Godfrey