The Black Nazarene (Itim Na Nazareno) is a life-sized image of a dark-skinned, kneeling Jesus Christ carrying the Cross enshrined in the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene in the Quiapo district of the City of Manila, Philippines.
The Black Nazarene was carved by an unknown Mexican from a dark wood in the 16th century in Mexico, and then transported to the Philippines in 1606. It depicts Jesus en route to his crucifixion. Pope Innocent X granted recognition to the lay Confraternity of Santo Cristo Jesús Nazareno in 1650 for the promotion of the devotion to Jesus through the icon. It was housed in several churches near Manila in the early decades, arriving in Quiapo Church in 1787 where it has been enshrined ever since. The icon is renowned in the Philippines, and is considered by many Filipino Catholics to be miraculous, its mere touch reputed to cure disease. It attracts homage by numerous devotees and major processions every year.
The January 9 procession reenacts the image’s Traslación (literally, “transfer”) in 1787, or “solemn transfer” to the Minor Basilica from its original shrine inside Intramuros. The January 9 Traslación is the largest procession, drawing millions of devotees thronging to touch the icon, and lasting 20 hours at the most.
Through the years, these celebrities and personalities have braved the crowds just so they can show their devotion to the Black Nazarene. Most of them have been devotees because of the miracles and blessings that the Nazarene had given them.
1. Noli de Castro
Noli de Castro has been well documented to be a true believer in the grace of the Black Nazarene. Amidst his busy schedule, the veteran broadcaster take the time to prepare himself to brave the procession. His co-reporter Anthony Taberna revealed that De Castro had been doing it for more than 30 years.
2. Angeline Quinto
Angeline Quinto also believes she received a miracle from the Black Nazarene. The singer had been praying everyday at Quiapo Church when her mother was very sick. She would consistently pray for her wellness and ask for some blessings. After many singing contests, she finally struck gold and made a name for herself. But, she believed that her mother’s recovery was her biggest blessing from the Black Nazarene.
3. Bayani Agbayani
Bayani Agbayani’s devotion also stemmed from his mother’s strong faith to the Black Nazarene. After the death of Bayani’s father, his mother Mila had been praying to the Black Nazarene to help her raise all six children. The comedian tries his best to attend the procession every year to give thanks for all the blessings and their family receives.
4. Coco Martin
Coco Martin has been a devotee even before he earned his spot in showbiz. His grandmother was a devotee and would bring the young Coco with her during the Feast. The “Ang Probinsyano” star would then grow up consistently visiting the Quiapo Church. The actor-producer had always been thankful for all the blessings he received and believe that all were blessed from the Black Nazarene.
5. Christopher De Leon
Christopher de Leon is known to be a devout Catholic and a devotee of the Black Nazarene. Through the years, he has been sighted joining the intense procession. The veteran actor believes that his and his family’s success are attributed to divine providence. With his daughter Mariel’s many blessings this year, the award-winning actor sure has more things to be thankful for.
6. Gisele Sanchez
It didn’t take much for Giselle Sanchez to believe in the miraculous powers of the Black Nazarene. Nearly a decade ago she fell ill and was left unable to work. That’s when she turned to the centuries-old, statue of Jesus Christ for help. According to Sanchez, she shows her gratitude by becoming one of the sponsors of the church’s feeding program.