The Black Nazarene (Nuestro Padre Jesús Nazareno) that has came all the way from Mexico through a galleon is a life-sized, dark-colored, wooden sculpture (carver is an Aztec carpenter)
of Jesus Christ which has been known to be miraculous by majority of the people, especially its Filipino devotees.
The black Nazarene is currently enshrined in the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo, Manila, Philippines where novena celebrations are held every Friday throughout the whole year. Roman Catholic tradition holds that the Black Nazarene came from a boat that caught fire, turning it from its original white into black or burnt complexion. For almost 200 years, the Black Nazarene is carried into the streets for procession in a "Caroza" or golden red carriage pulled through the streets of Quiapo by male devotees clad in maroon. Every 9th of January, the feast of the Most Holy Black Nazarene is celebrated while novena masses begin on the first Friday day of the year, in honor of its weekly novena mass held every Friday.
This also celebrates the Translacion or the transfer of the image to its present shrine in Quiapo. The devotion to the miraculous Black Nazarene (Nuestro Padre Jesús Nazareno) has attracted huge following among the public. Its popularity, which initially spread to the northern and southern provinces of Luzon, spread over time throughout the country. Devotees pay homage to the Santo Cristo Jesus Nazareno by clapping their hands in praise at the end of every Mass performed at the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene. On its feast during January 9, people believed that whoever touched the Nazarene sometimes has been healed of their diseases. Catholics come from all over Manila for the chance that they will be able to get close enough to touch the image and perhaps even receive a miracle. Some devotees also throw towels or handkerchiefs to the people guarding the statue and ask them to rub them on the statue in anticipation of carrying some of that power away with them.
History of the Black Nazarene Festival
The Black Nazarene statue was brought to Manila by the first group of Augustinian Recollect friars on May 31, 1606. The image was originally housed in the first Recollect church in Bagumbayan (now part of the Rizal Park), which was established on September 10, 1606, and placed under the patronage of Saint Juan Bautista Saint John the Baptist.
In 1608, the image of the "Nazareno" was transferred to the second, bigger Recollect church dedicated to San Nicolas de Tolentino (Saint Nicholas of Tolentine). The Recollect Fathers dynamically promoted devotion to the Suffering of Our Lord represented by the image that in fifteen short years, the Cofradia de Santo Cristo Jesús Nazareno was established on April 21, 1621. The confraternity obtained Papal approval on April 20, 1650, from Pope Innocent X.
Sometime in the year 1787, then 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 providently placed under the patronage of Saint John the Baptist. The Black Nazarene made a lot of miraculous things. These are the survival of the image from the great fires that destroyed Quiapo Church in 1791 and 1929, the great earthquakes of 1645 and 1863, and the destructive Bombing of Manila in 1945 during World War II. Today the head and the cross stay 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.