When future Armenian generations see this statue they may think: “Wait, what are these hands doing here without a smartphone?” I don’t know what their next question will be when they learn that these are Jesus’ hands, but most likely you are wondering why they only put hands.
The fact is that they symbolize the friendship between Yerevan and its sister city Carara. The statue was sent to Yerevan by its mayor in 1963. They were copied from the hands of the marble statue of Christ in Cuba, commissioned to a female Italian sculptor by Fulgenico Batista’s wife. The dictator’s wife promised to erect the statue of the Savior, “like the one in Brazil”, after a failed assassination attempt of her husband happened in her presence.
The statue, weighting 320 tons, was inaugurated in 1958. Soon thereafter, Cuba witnessed its famous revolution. When Fidel Castro heard that the revolutionaries wanted to blow up a gigantic statue put there by the dictator, he hurried to see it and then ordered to save it as a guardian of revolution.
This story remained unknown to the Soviet Armenian public. Representing friendship and cooperation but having this hidden revolutionary subtext, these hands are still in Yerevan’s Circular Park.
As I was writing this article, a new question started to rise up in me. Is this statue still living its own secret life? Does it somehow participate in political activism in Armenia evoking spirit of revolution or, does it brings it down due to its pacifist nature?