The Black Nazarene: Passion & devotion in the Philippines

I had many amazing experiences during my time in the Philippines, some deep and profound feelings I will carry with me forever. Particularly on how the country and the people re-connected me to the power of Christ consciousness.
I have never encountered such a devout and religious culture, so expressive for their love of Jesus Christ. I witnessed many people living on the streets in poverty with desperation in their eyes, praying to God for salvation bearing a cross in their hands.
At times I felt quite overwhelmed and emotional by the whole experience and as my journey through the country unfolded I knew there was a deeper reason I was in this place and it all came together when I arrived at Quiapo Church in Manila and looked into the eyes of the Black Nazarene.

It is considered the most religious icon in the Philippines, the Black Nazarene is a dark skinned life sized sculpture of Jesus Christ bearing the cross in a kneeling position.

Representing his passion and suffering and is believed to be miraculous by many filipino Catholics. Carved in the 16th Century by a group of Spanish Augustinian Recollect Friars in Acapulco Mexico then carried to the Philippines in a Galleon ship. The ship caught fire on its journey to the Philippines destroying all the cargo onboard and scorching the image of Jesus to black, which is how it became to be known as the Black Nazarene. For centuries the statue survived fires, earthquakes and even World War II and is believed by many filipino catholics to possess mysterious miracles and just touching it can cure disease and suffering. 

Millions of devotees gather in the heart on Manila on January 9th every year for the biggest procession of the year “The Feast of the Black Nazarene”. On this religious day the statue is carried through the streets for around 14 to 20 hours and devout locals are seen barefoot climbing over each other in a large crowd frantically pushing and shoving their way in desperation for a chance to touch the sculpture and receive its blessing on this holy day. 

Do I believe the Black Nazarene can perform miraculous miracles? Im not sure, but perhaps all the passion and energy that is being poured into the statue by the Catholic people has created something that can indeed give someone a profound experience. As my hand touched the foot of the Black Nazarene I stood their motionless and had a flash of images of what I would describe as the embodiment of Jesus within everyone around me, I seen the crucifixion and the rise of Jesus in a flash of white light leaving me feeling connected to everything he represents. That beyond suffering to always have Faith in the greater good. 

Watch the passion during the “Feast of the Black Nazarene” in this amazing video below.

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