Justo Gallego would likely take umbrage with the phrasing of that headline, seeing as the former monk views his lifework as an act of godly devotion. But this is what he gets for building such a goddamn beautiful cathedral.

Gallego, who is now 90, has spent the last 53 years painstakingly crafting a cathedral—a 24,000 square foot structure resplendent with stained glass and classic domes—on the outskirts of Madrid by hand. All on his own. The land was inherited from his family and the materials are mainly recycled, or donated from local construction projects. The process is as impressive as the yet-unfinished results.


There is certainly some moral to be inferred here—something about the lost art of physical creation, or an appreciation for the application of primitive technologies, or about dedication to an intuitively impossible task, or a visual manifestation of decades of human potential—but you don’t need any of that to find the video at once soothing and awe-inspiring.

If you want to learn more about what is known as Justo Gallego’s cathedral, there was a 2009 documentary called The Madman and the Cathedral.