SWIEBODZIN (Poland) - A Polish priest said on Friday he is nearing completion of what will be the world's largest statue of Jesus Christ, bigger than the current tallest ones in Bolivia and Brazil.

Father Sylwester Zawadzki told AFP that the statue he is constructing at Swiebodzin in western Poland, 50km from the Polish-German border, will be finished by Nov 21.

'The statue will be a total 58m high from the base and 24m wide at the arms,' added Jan Zawadzki, foreman on the project and brother of the priest. The Roman Catholic pastor came up with the idea to build a statue of Christ larger than any other in the world five years ago. He purchased a 1.6-hectare plot for the project from a state farmland agency and acquired sponsors, aiming to fulfil a cherished ambition.

'My first vocation was to become a priest. My second was to build the statue,' the priest told AFP.

Father Zawadzki has had trouble finding a crane strong enough to hoist the head up onto the shoulders of the Christ figure and has considered using a helicopter. The statue will be visible from the A2 highway linking Warsaw and Berlin.

Like Christ of Concordia in Bolivia and the Christ of Rio Janeiro in Brazil - both of which measure about 33m without their pedestals, the Christ of Swiebodzin is entirely white. Unlike the other two statues, the figure in Poland will have a golden crown.

World's 'largest Jesus statue'