In Peru, there is a religious tradition that moves hearts and gathers thousands of believers in a procession full of faith and devotion. We’re talking about the Lord of Miracles, a celebration that has endured for centuries and remains one of the most important expressions of religiosity in Latin America. In this article, we will provide you with comprehensive information about this celebration, covering everything from its origin to the locations where it takes place, and how it has been celebrated from 1687 to 2023, marking 336 years of faith this year. Join us to discover the meaning and emotion surrounding the Lord of Miracles.
It all began with an Angolan slave who painted an image of the crucified Christ on the walls of a humble hut in 1651, located in the Pachacamilla neighborhood. The image was painted with dark pigments, using techniques learned from his homeland.
In 1655, a devastating earthquake on November 13 left only the wall standing.
Authorities ordered the image to be erased. Antuñano recounts, based on the testimony of eyewitnesses, that the first person climbed the ladder and was about to start erasing the image when they were hit by an earthquake, falling unconscious and immobilized. The second person had a similar experience, but they persisted with a third man. This last person began to exclaim that the crown of Christ was turning green and the image was becoming more beautiful. At that moment, in an unusual occurrence for the city, the sky darkened, and intense rain began, interpreted as a sign that God did not want the image to be erased.
Antuñano was entrusted with preserving the devotion to the Lord of Miracles. He purchased the two blocks of land where the wall was located.
The earthquake on October 20 that struck Lima that early morning fixed a first date for the traditional procession. Antuñano led the canvas in procession for the first time.
Antuñano invited Mother Antonia Lucía of the Holy Spirit and her Nazarene beatas to move to Pachacamilla. This was done to ensure the devotion to the Lord of Miracles of Nazarenas.
Years later, permission was granted to establish the monastery of Discalced Carmelites, with the unique condition that they would also be Nazarenas, and they were granted the use of the purple habit.
In 1746, another devastating earthquake on October 28 became another traditional procession date.
In 1766, Viceroy Amat initiated the construction of the church. Years later, it was engraved with the design of the church that was inaugurated on January 20, 1771, the same one we see today.
Antonia Maldonado y Verdugo, originally from Guayaquil in the Viceroyalty of Peru, experienced the loss of her father when she was between eleven or twelve years old. Accompanied by her mother, she moved to Callao and settled there, supporting themselves by making cigarettes. As she reached the appropriate age, her mother suggested that she marry Alonso Quintanilla, a low-income nobleman.
Although she already had spiritual inclinations and had received messages from Jesus Christ in her dreams, Antonia obediently agreed to the marriage. However, on the night of the wedding and during the next four days, she claimed to be affected by “growths.” Alonso interpreted that his wife had another calling, leading them to commit to maintaining chastity.
In 1677, Antonia received the message to wear the Nazarene habit of Jesus Christ. Later, she revealed to her confessor Basilio Saizieta that Jesus Christ had told her, “My mother has given her robe of purity to other souls, and I give you my robe and habit with which I traveled the world: value this gift.” After becoming a widow in 1681, she donned the purple color and took the name Antonia Lucía of the Holy Spirit. It is believed that by then, she had already established the Nazarene College in Callao, with the contribution of Captain Francisco Serrano Carrillo de Albornoz.
Later, the captain and his wife attempted to impose a protegée as the director of the retreat, despite her lack of devotion. Annoyed, Antonia consulted her confessor, who recommended that she move to Lima and join the beaterio of Santa Rosa de Viterbo. Although it caused discomfort among the Franciscans when she arrived dressed in purple, she eventually succeeded in establishing herself.
After a year in Viterbo, Antonia managed to secure donations to found the Nazarene Institute of beatas in Monserrate in 1683, where they remained until the end of the century. She continued to receive messages from Christ in her dreams, some of which predicted that the place where they would settle would be near rams and that they would adopt the rule of Carmel. There is evidence that Antonia and Sebastián, two pillars of devotion, already knew each other. Saizieta recounted that after the earthquake in 1687, Antonia, divinely inspired, encouraged Antuñano to continue his work.
Saizieta also mentions that before they met, Antonia Lucía observed the Lord leaving the church of San Agustín in procession from a balcony. This experience had such a profound impact that since then she and her beatas accompanied the Lord in his procession.
The celebration of the Lord of Miracles takes place primarily in the city of Lima, especially at the Convent of Nazarenas, where the iconic image of the “Cristo Moreno” (Dark Christ) is located. Every year, thousands of believers gather in an impressive procession that winds through the streets of Lima, turning the city into a sea of faith and devotion.
In addition to Lima, the festivity is also celebrated in other cities of Peru, such as Trujillo, Arequipa, Cusco, and Chiclayo, where the image of the Lord of Miracles is venerated with great fervor.
The Lord of Miracles Procession in Lima is a religious and cultural event of great significance in the Peruvian capital. Every year, thousands of believers and curious onlookers gather to be part of this impressive manifestation of faith, devotion, and tradition.
The event takes place during the month of October, known as the “Purple Month” due to the characteristic color of the habit worn by the faithful during the procession. The Lord of Miracles, also known as the “Cristo Moreno,” is an image revered and respected for its history of miracles and its connection to protection in difficult times.
The procession itself is a visual and emotional spectacle. The image of the Lord of Miracles, painted on a wall by an Angolan slave in the 17th century, is carried on a purple litter by a group of devotees known as “cargadores” (carriers). These men bear the heavy structure on their shoulders through the streets of Lima, while thousands of people join the march, dressed in purple as a sign of devotion.
The procession route varies over the days, passing through different streets and iconic squares of the city. The faithful gather on the sidewalks to witness the passage of the image and offer their prayers. The atmosphere is charged with emotions, from the solemnity of the occasion to the fervor of those who express gratitude for received miracles.
The Lord of Miracles Procession is not only a religious event but also an opportunity to experience Peruvian culture and identity. Street food stalls offer traditional dishes, such as the “turrón de doña Pepa,” a sweet emblematic of the festivity. Additionally, artisans and vendors display products related to devotion and the image of the Cristo Moreno.
If you have the opportunity to visit Peru during the celebration of the Lord of Miracles in 2023, don’t miss the chance to experience this unique and moving event. Participate in the procession, feel the unity of the Peruvian people, and be moved by the faith and devotion that surround this festivity.
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