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  • The miracles of Gaudí

    A sculpture of the architect receives a blessing in the Sagrada Familia. It is surprising, but until now there had been to statue in Barcelona dedicated to Gaudí.

    by Pau Arenós

    Every day, hundreds of tourists wandered to the stalagmite forest of the Sagrada Familia to try to understand the mystery of creation. This earthen edifice emitted a true mysticism, and its visitors contemplated its towers with a neck ache close to ecstasy. One had to be a piece of cork to not perceive the spiritual signals from the relays. From there one tuned in with God without interference, the viewership leader on Sunday mornings.

    For quite some time beatitude of Antoni Gaudí was discussed insistently. Not even the unbelievers could deny him the miracle of multiplication. His buildings were like penny-banks. The coins, in the form of tickets or souvenirs, fell endlessly. Gaudí was an indisputable saint. Tourism entrepreneurs preferred to pray to him.


    This is why those who attended the inauguration of his sculpture yesterday accepted the priest's blessing of the image as something natural. Surprisingly, the idea of the consecration had come from the management of the Municipal Landscape Institute, which doubtlessly was seeking supernatural help for its urbanistic crusade. Ferran Ferrer Viana, manager of the Institute, poured holy water on the decision: "It's a symbolic act that speaks of Gaudí's links with the Church. But it's simple. We haven't given it publicity. There are no bishops."

    In front of the Nativity Facade, in the shadows of the stone antennas, there was Gaudí. It was a 180-cm. tall bronze, sculpted by Joaquim Camps. The morning was miraculous. Camps and Gaudí looked exactly alike, both with prophets' beards. They could only be distinguished by their color. The architect was green. The sculptor, white. Camps did not kneel: "I haven't treated Gaudí as a saint, but as a man, like a person from the street."

    The bust was intended for the Portal Miralles (Passeig de Manuel Girona, 55), but as of November 13, he was still watching over the Sagrada Familia like a guardian angel. At first, the intention was to deliver the sculpture in a procession to Park Güell', but it was finally decided to save it the ordeal. Too bad. In other times it was customary for sacred images to be transferred from house to house in portable chapels to comfort the parishioners.

    The celebration was brief, interrupted by the applause of the devotees, who were not quite sure if it was a social or religious event. Mossen Lluis Bonet, with an ascetic appearance, led the liturgy with austerity: "May this figure remind us of his example." Everything was authentically Gaudí. Austere, pious, unpredictable.

    Next to the priest, lieutenant mayor Jordi Portabella, of ERC (the "Republican Left of Catalonia"), smiled like a schoolboy. Nobody had spoken to him about the ceremony. Afterward, Portabella gave a sermon on the wonders of the venerable architect: "Barcelona gave him much. It has been his synthetic image. Visitors have discovered the city through him."

    Once the worship service was over, the tourists approached to have their pictures taken with the statue. It was a good sign. Sainthood was close.

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