Temple Institute in Jerusalem says controversial Brazilian Pentecostal church’s mammoth $300 million Holy Temple replica is “self-aggrandizement.”
The Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, headed by controversial Bishop Edir Macedo, has build a giant replica of the First Temple in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The replica of Solomon’s Temple, which took four years to build at a cost of about $300 million, stands 55 meters (18 stories) high, and seats 10,000 people. Its also captures a parking lot for 1,000 cars, TV and radio studios, and classroom space for 1,300 pupils. A helicopter landing pad will allow Edir Macedo, the 69-year-old media magnate who founded the Universal Church in a Rio de Janeiro funeral home in 1977, to drop in for sermons. The sprawling 11-story complex features other flourishes, too, like an oasis of olive trees similar to the garden of Gethsemane near Jerusalem, and more than 30 columns soaring toward the heavens.
Passers-by stop in front of it day and night. Some take pictures with their cellphones. Many stare at it in amazement, expressing their reactions on a crowded sidewalk where watchmen, described as “Guardians of the Temple” on their uniforms, patrol the entrance.
“The temple is so enormous, so beautiful, but also so ostentatious,” Solange Barbosa de Nascimento, 58, a seamstress who worships at another Brazilian evangelical church called Peace and Love, said one recent morning. “I wonder if they could have spent all that money another way, just caring for the poor.”