The Black Nazarene is a life-sized, dark-skinned statue of Jesus Christ, which was carved by an Aztec carpenter. A priest bought the statue in Mexico during the time of the Galleon Trade. The image is now enshrined in the minor basilica in Quiapo, Manila Friday is when devotees go to the church to pay homage. The Feast of the Black Nazarene, celebrated every year on January 9, is one of the largest and most popular religious festivals in the Philippines.
The statue was brought to Manila by the first group of Augustinian Recollect friars on 31 May 1606.<ref>Black Nazarene image 400 years in Manila on Wednesday GMA News.</ref> The image was enshrined at the first Recollect church in Bagumbayan (now part of the Rizal Park), which was inaugurated on 10 September 1606 and placed under the patronage of Saint John the Baptist.
In 1608, the second bigger Recollect church dedicated to San Nicolas de Tolentino (Saint Nicholas of Tolentine) was completed inside Intramuros, and the image of Nuestro Padre Jesús Nazareno was transferred there. The Recollect Fathers then vigorously promoted devotion to the Suffering of Our Lord represented by the image such that after fifteen short years, the Cofradia de Jesús Nazareno was established on 21 April 21. The confraternity obtained the Papal approval on 20 April 1650 from His Holiness Pope Innocent X.
Sometime in 1787, the Archbishop of Manila, Basilio Sancho de Santas Junta y Rufina, ordered the transfer of the image of the Nazareno to the church in Quiapo, again placed under the patronage of Saint John the Baptist.
In 1998, however, a replica of the original Black Nazarene was first paraded due to the repeated damages inflicted on the statue. Today, the head and the cross stays on the Altar Mayor of the Minor Basilica, and the original body image of the Black Nazarene is used in the processions. Other, even smaller replica can be found in other churches.
The devotion to Nuestro Padre Jesús Nazareno has attracted a huge following. Its initial popularity in the northern and southern provinces of Luzon spread over time throughout the country.
The uniquely Filipino devotion to the Black Nazarene merited the sanction and encouragement of two popes: Innocent X in 1650, with a Papal Bull canonically establishing the Cofradia de Jesús Nazareno; and Pius VII in the 19th century, by granting indulgence to those who piously pray before the image of the Black Nazarene of Quiapo.
Today, despite the rough-and-tumble that usually accompanies the thrice-yearly procession of the image, the Filipino people's devotion to God in the special appellation of Nuestro Padre Jesús Nazareno continues to flourish and shows no sign of waning--death, wounds, bodily pains and physical discomfort notwithstanding.
For more than 200 years, the statue has been placed on a gilded carriage every January and is pulled through the streets of Quiapo by male devotees dressed in maroon. People who touch the Nazarene are reported to sometimes be healed of diseases. Catholics come from all over Manila hoping for the chance to get close enough to touch the image and perhaps receive a miracle. They also throw towels to the people guarding the statue and ask them to rub the towel on the statue in hopes of carrying some of that miraculous power away with them.
407th year celebration
The procession of the Black Nazarene on Thursday, 9 January 2014, has been diverted to the Jones Bridge. It will go through Jones Bridge and Escolta and will not pass through the MacArthur Bridge due to concerns on the structure's stability and present condition. Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada said that the Jones Bridge has undergone retrofitting thus it is already safe to handle the huge volume of devotees when the procession passes along the bridge.
A solemn mass, which will be led by Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, will be held at 6 a.m. The procession will start from the Quirino Grandstand, then left to Katigbak Drive through Padre Burgos Street, left to Taft Avenue through Jones Bridge, left to Escolta, then turn right along Palanca Street which is below Quezon bridge, left turn to Quezon Boulevard , then it will pass through the narrow streets of Quiapo starting turning right to Arlegui Street, right to Fraternal Street, right to Vergara Street, left to Duque de Alba Street, left to Castillejos Street, turn left to Farnecio Street, right to Arlegui Street. It will turn left to Nepomuceno, left to Aguila Street, right to Carcer Street, right to Hidalgo Street, through Plaza del Carmen, turn left to Bilibid Viejo through Puyat Street, left to Guzman Street, right to Hidalgo Street, the left to Barbosa Street, right to Globo de Oro Street, through under Quezon Bridge, then turn right again to Palanca Street, right to Villalobos Street, thru Plaza Miranda and finally in front of the minor basilica’s gate.
Authorities expect 10 to 12 million devotees to join the Nazarene procession. According to Chief Superintendent Dennis Peña, National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) deputy director for operations, 4,000 additional personnel from the NCRPO will be deployed to provide security for the millions of devotees. A security plan which can last up to more than 24 hours was already prepared.
To help maintain the peace and order during the event, the Manila Police District (MPD) and Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) will each deploy 1,000 uniformed personnel. A massive clean-up of the sidewalks along the procession routes was also ordered by Estrada.
The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) will also dispatch additional security personnel near the bridges along the area of Pasig River. In 2011, three devotees fell or jumped off the Quezon Bridge due to uncontrollable crowd.
Seven teams from the Coast Guard Intelligence Force (CGIF) and Coast Guard Special Operations Group on board rigid hull inflatable boats (RHIB) will be deployed not only for additional security but also to watch out for outsiders who will create any unusual scenario from the Pasig River.
The Feast of the Black Nazarene 2014 has been declared a special non-working holiday in Manila by the City Council.
- Black Nazarene image 400 years in Manila on Wednesday GMA News
- The history of the Black Nazarene Manilahub.i.ph - includes the history of the Quiapo Church
- “Feast of Black Nazarene 2013 Schedule of Activities”.coolbuster.(Accessed on 8 January 2012).
- “Feast of the Black Nazarene Procession Route 2013”.Everything in Budget*.(Accessed on 8 January 2012).
- Manongdo, Jenny F.“Traffic Rerouting On Feast Of Black Nazarene”.mb.com.ph.(Accessed on 8 January 2012).
- Calica, Aurea and Galupo, Rey.“Feast of the Black Nazarene: 11 M devotees seen to attend procession”.philSTAR.com.(Accessed on 8 January 2012).
- Cahinhinan, John Carlo.“Nazarene procession route changed”.Sun Star Manila.(Accessed on 8 January 2014).
- “Feast of the Black Nazarene 2014 Procession & Traffic Route Scheme”.PhilippineNews.(Accessed on 8 January 2014).
- Zamora, Jorge F.,Pilapil, Jimmy and Ramirez, Robertzon.“Manila declares Jan. 9 a special holiday”.The Manila Times.(Accessed on 8 January 2014).