The festivity of the Lord of Miracles (Señor de los Milagros) takes place in Lima during October each year and it is the most important religious festivity in Peru and has a loyal and largest crowd of persons despite the social level. The crowd has only one interest in common and it if their belief in the Dark Christ (Cristo Moreno)
The following information was taken from the book Peru : Customs and Festivities (Backus & Johnston Brewery Union)
“ There are several stories about the image but the most accepted theory about it origins dates year 1650 when several slaves that were brought from Angola were part of a religious brotherhood called “cofradias” (guilds). It is been said that one of the slaves painted an image of a crucified Christ on a wall of the room they used to lived and held meetings.
In a book called Pachacamac and the Lord of Miracles, written by Maria Rostorowsky, she explains a new thesis of the origin of the term Pachacamilla (referring to an area that dissapeared from Lima and that was close to the hermitage of The Lord of the Miracles…
It was belived that over a century ago. When natives of Pachacamac were sent to Lima by Hernan Gonzales, their encomendero (grocer), in the room they had lioved they had painted an image that was venerated by the black slaves that came of Angola and their descendants.”
“Ismael Portal wrote Lima Religiosa (Religious Lima) and tells us, about the 1655 earthquake that devastated Lima, but that the wall with the image of El Señor de Los Milagros painted by the slaved was miraculously unharmed. A popular cult of the image became popular among slaves.”
“Jorge Bernales who wrote Lima, la Ciudad y sus Monumentos (Lima, the City and its Monuments, Sevilla 1972) mentions that the cult of “The Black Christ” appeared against the wishes and interest of the parish priest of San Marcelo Church. In anger, the priest requested authorization from his superiors to tear the wall down to stop “the profanity” as he called this cult. At this stage nobody knows what happened but this never took place and, to this day, the wall was never touched.
“By mid century XVII, during Peru´s Colonial Period, Viceroy Count of Lemos governed and at the time Lima was just a small town that has city limits marked by the Churches of La Merced, San Marcelo, San Sebastian and Santa Ana. During those days the parish of Las Nazarenas, was actually in the countryside and the names of the streets give us an idea of the past “Pots & Pans”, “Labourer´s Quarters”, “Horse Stables” and “Pampilla” referring to countryside. Later on, it became the shrine of El Señor de Los Milagros.
In 1661, some years after the death of the owner of the land where the church was located, a man called Antonio de Leon, Became intrigued by this image. The wall where the image was painted was about to collapse due a stream of water from behind had eroded its base and weakened its foundations. He had certain repairs made including a trellis for shade and a stone table which was used as an altar. He has a malignant tumor and each time he visited the image of El Señor de Los Milagros he begged to be healed. Miracously one day he was cured.”
Part 1 of 3
To be continued…..