Justo Gallego Martinez has been building the cathedral for more than 50 years using only scrap material from the nearby industrial polygon.
The goal of this campaign
We need to collect 40,000 € to make the cathedral safe and legal for the public. The exceeding funds will be used to complete this amazing work and other projects related to this cathedral.
Even a very small donation or sharing the campaign on your social media would help. This is an incredible piece of art, featured in exhibition at New York MoMa, in worldwide television programs and mainstream media.
Any help counts
We are ScanAndMake, a Liverpool based start-up. We met Justo and Angel in a different occasion, as we held the final exhibition of our art contest Making Art 4.0 in the Cathedral. With our technological skills we are helping Justo to collect the funds needed to secure his work.
Get to know Justo's labor
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The amazing story of Justo and the Cathedral
Justo Gallego, a young, vegetarian and very pious farmer from Mejorada del Campo, after the end of the Spanish Civil War, decided to join the Santa Maria de Huerta monastery in Soria, where he enrolled as postulant to become a monk.
At the age of 36, Justo contracted tuberculosis. The monastic life became more complicated, so for the safety of the Monastery, he decided to leave. At the same time he inherited a plot of land in Mejorada del Campo. He promised himself that if he survived the illness he would build a cathedral in honour to the Virgin Mary.
Later, in the same year, his health got better so he started levelling the ground in preparation for the building of the Cathedral on his plot of land. The first stone was placed on the 12 October 1961.
Justo then started building the cathedral with no definite or written plans. He was inspired mainly by Romanic style architecture, which according to him is the finest architectural style. Other sources name as other influences Spanish Fortifications, St. Peter’s Cathedral in Rome and neo-classical architecture.
Justo at the time had no building or architecture experience. His plans are really clear in his mind and he has religiously followed them over the years. He learned while building and by studying books about churches and medieval castles, mostly in Latin.
A few years later, the building starts taking shape. Justo works mostly on his own, using recycled materials and developing impressive unique building techniques. Sporadically he gets help from his family or gets some paid help when he can afford it.
Another vintage pic, where we can see all the perimetral walls completed at the end of the 80s.
After many years the Cathedral is fullly shaped, Justo has made it mostly on his own using all sorts of makeshift tools like rubber tyres and chemical waste canisters donated by a company in China. The nearby factories in Mejorada del Campo provide him all the materials and he also receive some donations.
Around the year 1998, Angel, his main assistant, join the works. The operation get a massive boost. Angel works on the windows, decoration and floors, while Justo keep working on the towers and Dome.
In 2004 Justo receives his first international attention, and is invited to participate at an exhibition, the Real Royal Trip in the New York MoMA.
In 2005 the Cathedral starts getting worldwide attention. Justo is contacted by Aquarius, a Spanish soft drink company, to take part in their advertising campaign which would feature his story. In change, he will get more funds to help the building of his Cathedral. The campaign is really popular in Spain, even tho a lot of people think its a publicity stunt. Slowly people starts realising that this is a real story and starts visiting Mejorada del Campo to see this incredible work.
Over the years the attention intensifies: Justo and Angel release interviews to worldwide press and tv. Several documentaries are written on his life and work.
In recent times the Cathedral was threatened of demolition in several occasions, furthermore, the Catholic Church refuses to adquire the Cathedral, as its deemed dangerous, even tho not even a stone ever fell from the roof, according to Justo.
Justo's work is featured on the New York Times. Justo's Cathedral is now getting more and more famous worldwide and the number of visitors of the cathedral increases.
In 2018 a young creative startup based in Liverpool UK, Scan And Make, got in contact with Angel to ask the availability of spaces in the cathedral to organise their exhibition of technology and art, Making Art 4.0. After the exhibition, the startup offered their technological skills to help Justo and Angel collecting funds to make the cathedral safe and complete it.
In 2019 the campaign One Man Cathedral starts. Since then most of the marble floors have been completed. The Cathedral also had its first official mass, which was one of Justo’s dreams.
In february 2019, the famous british TV Architect George Clarke, features a special on the cathedral on his show "Amazing Spaces" on Channel 4. Justo's story features on prime time television in the UK.
In 2020 One Man Cathedral is building an infrastructure to host visitors inside the Cathedral, to help financing the building, and coordinating the help of various ONGs that send volunteers.
At the end of 2020, the 4th edition of the Making Art 4.0 will take place in the Cathedral bringing more interest and visitors.