The veneration of the ‘Black Nazarene’ is rooted in the Filipinos’ identification with the passion and suffering of Christ depicted by the image. They relate their poverty and daily struggles to the Passion of the Lord.
Every year, devotees hold a religious procession that attract millions of people who throng to touch the image, praying for a blessing.
Along with the devotion to the Santo Niño (Child Jesus), the Black Nazarene is the most popular object of devotion in the Philippines.
This year, due to the pandemic, civil and religious leaders decided to cancel the annual procession of the centuries-old black wooden statue of Jesus Christ.
It did not, however, prevent devotees from visiting the church in Manila’s Quiapo district ahead of the annual observance of the “feast” on Jan. 9 to attend Mass.
Starting on New Year’s Eve, novena prayers are held every 11:15 a.m. and Masses at noon.
Authorities said the feast of the Nazarene will push through but not the procession of the life-size image that usually runs up to almost 20 hours.