This is the second part of the information taken from the book Peru : Customs and Festivities (Backus & Johnston Brewery Union)
“News spread around and people living in the vicinity started to visit the Black Christ. On Fridays people would flock to the image and, accompanied by music they would sing “Miserere”. Mss took place quite frequently during Colonial times of the Vice-Royalty of Peru. Viceroy Count of Lemos was a devout man and heard about this gatherings and became intrigued. After visiting the image he was so impressed of the devotion he personally requested permission before the church authorities to have Holy Mass said before El Señor de Los Milagros.
The images of Mary and Saint John, on either side of the cross, seems to date form the same time. Apparently the painted images of “God the father”, and “The Holy Spirit” were added to the original by instructions of Viceroy Count of Lemos.
Its been said that 2 more repairs took place and knowledge people were consulted to save the wall and the image of El Señor de Los Milagros. Then experts recommended to lift the wall up and that it had to be placed upon another base especially built for this purpose…. and so it was done. Unfortunately despite all the precautions handling the paintings the two side images were damaged. However, the image of the Crucified Christ was unharmed.
Two of the most important pillars that supported the spiritual cult of El Señor de Los Milagros were Sebastian Artuñano & Antonia Maldonado Mendoza.
In 1673, Sebastian Artuñano, a Spaniard born in Viscaya left home when he was 14 and seeking fortune he came to Peru. Eventually, he became the most influential protector of the wall and the painting. Artuñano fostered the cult towards this Black Christ and bought the land where the wall and painting stood and had a shrine built there.
Antonia Maldonado Mendoza, who was born in Guayaquil had her marriage arranged by her parents. However both spouses decided to remain chaste and when she became a widow she decided to dedicate herself to what she really had yearned for her life. She becaume a novice a devoted herself to a religious institute. She founded a beatario (devout place), which later became the Nazarene Monastery.
In 1687, another major eqrthquake hit Lima and Sebastian ordered a copy of this dark skinned image of Christ called Cristo Moreno to be made and taken out in procession throughout the streets of Lima for the first time.
Just before his death, Sebastian bequeathed this site to mother Antonia so that, as the owner, she would take care of the painting. The monastery was formally established shortly afterwards with the Crown permission. The painting was slightly restored and well aware of the veneration the municipality of Lima named it Patron of Lima (Lord of Lima) when Viceroy Count of Monclova was Viceroy at the turn of XVII century.
On August 1709, mother Antonia died but before her death she had left instructions describing the color of the habit to be adopted by these nuns. The Viceroy of Peru was Marquis of Castelfuerte at this time.”
Part 2 of 3
To be continued…..