"Go to Rio" - for your wedding, Church says

Marking the 75th anniversary of the famous art deco statue of Christ Redeemer overlooking Rio de Janeiro, the Brazilian Church is to open a small chapel under the 40 metre statue where couples will be able to marry in one of the world's most romantic settings.

Rio de Janeiro Cardinal Eusebio Oscar Scheid will consecrate the small Nossa Senhora Aparecida chapel under the statue, opening the way for it to hold religious ceremonies such as baptisms and weddings, the Times Online reports.

The world famous statue of Cristo Redentor on top of the 700m Corcovado mountain already draws thousands of tourists a year.

But the Church now wants it to become a place of pilgrimage as well. "We want Corcovado to become a sacred place, and not just a spot to view the beauties of Rio," said Cardinal Scheid, announcing the move.

The location will offer an unbeatable backdrop for wedding pictures. From the viewing platform at the foot of the statue there is a panoramic view of what locals have nicknamed "A Cidade Maravilhosa" - the Marvellous City: an improbable mixture of urban metropolis, granite peaks and islands, rainforest and a string of bays and beaches such as Copacabana and Ipanema.

"It will provide a spectacular cinematic backdrop for any wedding. It is, after all, one of the most beautiful vistas in the world," Fr Marcos William of the Rio de Janeiro Archdiocese told the Times.

The Archdiocese says that foreign Catholics will be able to marry in the chapel after going through pre-wedding formalities with their local church and having the documentation sent to Rio.

The Church expects big demand for the ceremonies which will begin in January 2007 after the chapel undergoes refurbishments.

The site is also in the running with 20 other monuments to be named one of the seven modern wonders of the world, the Times says.

Rio opens its arms to weddings (Times Online, 11/10/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Archdiocese of Rio de Janeiro
Cardinal Oscar Scheid (Catholic-Hierarchy)

12 Oct 2006