THE Black Nazarene (Spanish: El Nazareno Negro, Nuestro Padre Jesús Nazareno; Filipino: Poóng Itím na Nazareno, Hesus Nazareno) is a life-sized image of a dark-skinned, kneeling Jesus Christ carrying the cross enshrined in the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene in the Quiapo district of the City of Manila, Philippines.
The Black Nazarene was carved by an unknown Mexican from a dark wood in the 16th century in Mexico and then transported to the Philippines in 1606. It depicts Jesus en route to his crucifixion. Pope Innocent X granted recognition to the lay Confraternity of Santo Cristo Jesús Nazareno in 1650 for the promotion of the devotion to Jesus through the icon. It was housed in several churches near Manila in the early decades, arriving in Quiapo Church in 1787 where it has been enshrined ever since. The icon is renowned in the Philippines and is considered by many Filipino Catholics to be miraculous; its mere touch reputed to cure disease. It attracts homage by numerous devotees and major processions every year.
The image (in recent years a composite replica) is brought out of its shrine in procession three times a year: January 9 (the anniversary of the icon's translation), Good Friday (the Nazarene's liturgical feast, commemorating the culmination of the Passion), and December 31 (New Year's Eve, the first day of its annual novena). The January 9 procession re-enacts the image's Traslación (literally “transfer”) in 1787, or “solemn transfer” to the Minor Basilica from its original shrine inside Intramuros. The January 9 Traslación is the largest procession, drawing millions of devotees thronging to touch the icon and lasting 20 hours at the most.
The Black Nazarene is venerated by Filipino devotees every Friday. Along with the Santo Niño, (Child Jesus) it is the most popular object of devotion in the Philippines. A similar image called Cristo Negro is venerated in Portobelo, Panama.
As we join the millions of devotees in this annual feast, let us also join hands in prayer: “Beloved Lord Jesus, Black Nazarene, I come to you to help me. Life is a constant struggle, and I now feel the pain of my journey. Bless me Jesus and teach me to listen, to all the events of my life, knowing that nothing happens by chance. Everything that happens has a reason. When I feel the pain of sickness, teach me to cope with loving surrender and to believe in the power of healing. When I experience emotional, financial and psychological brokenness, help me to rise up with belief that with God, nothing is impossible. I come to you today, to pray for healing to listen to my petition/s. I pray to you and my Mother Mary to answer my prayers. Amen. Black Nazarene I put my trust in you!”
“If someone is tempted, let us not judge him as if we are sinless. We tend to separate ourselves instead of remembering that we too are tempted. If he is tempted to sin, we should unite and help one another to fight temptation ... This is a love that says, we are together, we are no different from each other... This is a love that is ready to embrace even the sinners and those who are weak, instead of trampling on them and separating ourselves from them.” ~ Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle