In October, millions of Peruvians demonstrate their faith in the procession of the Lord of Miracles. (Andean)
Peru is one of the last great bastions that Christianity has in this part of the continent. And there are many festivals and devotions that the Peruvian people have in the religious sphere.
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But without a doubt, the most important of the year, and in which the vast majority of faithful usually demonstrate their faith, is during the procession of the Lord of Miracles, also known as the Christ of Pachacamilla.
And during its central days, the last of each October, millions of Peruvians from all over the world show the world how deep their faith is. What some still do not know is what is the true origin of this devotion that has been on our streets for more than 350 years and that seems to get bigger every day.
A mystery that endures: the enigmatic origin of the Cristo Moreno of Pachacamilla. (Andean)
The history of this image dates back to the 16th century and is shrouded in mystery. Legend says that it was painted by an Angolan slave brought to Peru, but it cannot be confirmed with certainty who was the author of this work.
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The original image of Christ was first recorded in 1651 in Pachacamilla, and over time, representations of God the Father, Mary, and Mary Magdalene were added. This Christ is known as Moreno due to the strong presence of dark-skinned faithful among his first devotees. For decades, the image was portrayed with a dark complexion.
In 1655, a strong earthquake shook Lima and Callao, destroying temples and homes, and claiming thousands of lives. However, the image of Christ on the simple adobe wall remained intact. This event marked the beginning of gatherings to venerate the image on Friday nights, a tradition that has endured to this day.
But despite his growing devotion, as time went by, there were attempts to erase the image and ban gatherings in his honor.
Concerned about its growing popularity, the parish priest of San Sebastián, José de Mena, requested the intervention of Viceroy Pedro Antonio Fernández de Castro, the Count of Lemos, to remove the image and stop the meetings, arguing that they went against religious practices. of those times. However, people’s response was rejection and they refused to allow the image to be removed.
Peru unites in October to honor Cristo Moreno: an unbreakable tradition. (Andean)
According to legend, the first painter who tried to erase the image was overcome by tremors and chills when he climbed the ladder towards the image. Another man, upon approaching the image, gave up after seeing something inexplicable in it.
Finally, a brave soldier went up, but he experienced something extraordinary: the image seemed to become even more beautiful in front of his eyes, and the crown of thorns turned green. Faced with the insistence of the authorities to delete the image, the people expressed their disagreement, which led the Viceroy and Vicar Ibarra to revoke the order.
After the failed attempt to erase the image, Viceroy Fernández de Castro gave the green light to officially authorize its worship. Then, a provisional hermitage was built on the site and on September 14, 1671, the first official mass was celebrated before the ecclesiastical and civil authorities.
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The cult of the Lord of Miracles began to spread, and the image became the Holy Christ of Miracles or of Las Maravillas.
On October 20, 1687, another earthquake devastated Lima, and the ecclesiastical authorities decided that a replica of the image would go out in procession through the streets of the capital.
A similar event would occur in 1746, when the capital and Callao suffered one of the most destructive earthquakes in their history. That time, again, the population took out the image of the Lord of Miracles in procession, thus beginning the popular tradition.
Since then, thousands of faithful from all over the world gather in Lima every October to participate in these processions.
Of earthquakes and miracles: the story of the sacred image that defied the destruction of the country. (Andean)
When Peru was under the orders of Viceroy Manuel Amat y Juniet, the new representative of the Spanish crown in our lands decided to help with 150 pesos, as alms, for the construction of the Temple of Nazarenas. This occurred between 1764 and 1776. The amount would double in 1775.
But that was not all, as he was also involved in planning and supervising the construction, as well as obtaining the necessary permits.
On January 21, 1771, the new Nazarenas Temple was inaugurated, marking another milestone in devotion to the Lord of Miracles.
The purple of faith and the fascinating story behind the Lord of Miracles. (Andean)
The history of the color purple associated with the Lord of Miracles has a separate but equally interesting story. Antonia Maldonado, an Ecuadorian woman, arrived in Peru and married Alonso Quintanilla.
After being widowed, she founded the Beguinage of the Nazarenes and adopted purple clothing, the traditional color of Jesus of Nazareth, decorated with a white cord with five knots that represented the wounds of Jesus Christ.
Although the authorities closed the beguinage, Antonia Maldonado and her followers continued their devotion to the Christ of Pachacamilla and adopted purple as a symbol of their faith.
The Lord of Miracles is proof of the eternal power of the Peruvian faith. (Andean)
Devotion to the Lord of Miracles has become deeply rooted in Peruvian culture and has transcended borders. Every October, the processions attract thousands of devotees from around the world, and the image of the Moreno Christ remains a symbol of hope and miracles for those who seek his intercession.
The story of the Lord of Miracles is proof of the power of faith and the resistance of a devotion that has endured throughout the centuries.