Thousand of devotees thronged the streets to celebrate the Feast of the Black Nazarene which is celebrated every year on January 9th. Manila, Philippines. 09/01/2011
The Black Nazarene, known to devotees as Nuestro Padre Jesus Nazareno de Quiapo ("Our Father Jesus Nazarene of Quiapo"), is a life-sized, dark-coloured, wooden sculpture of Jesus Christ, held to be miraculous by many Filipino devotees. The Black Nazarene is currently enshrined in the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo, Manila, Philippines. The Feast of the Black Nazarene is celebrated every January 9th with the weekly Friday Masses held in its honour beginning on the first Friday of the year.
The statue's original carver is an anonymous Mexican carpenter, and the image arrived in the archipelago by galleon from Acapulco, Mexico. Folk tradition attributes the colour of the Black Nazarene to a fire on the ship carrying it, charring the image from its original fair tone into its present dark complexion.
The image was brought to the Philippines by the Augustinian Recollect Missionaries on May 31, 1606. It was initially enshrined in the first Recollect church in Bagumbayan (now part of Rizal Park). On September 10, 1606, the church was inaugurated and placed under the patronage of St. John the Baptist. In 1608, the image was transferred to the second bigger Recollect church of San Nicolas de Tolentino built in Intramuros. Between 1767 and 1790, the Archbishop of Manila, Basilio Sancho de Santas Justa y Rufina, ordered the transfer of the Black Nazarene to its present location within the Quiapo church.
Today, the image borne in procession consists of the original body of the Black Nazarene connected to a replica of the head, while the original head portion of the statue remains on a replica of the body enshrined within the high altar of the basilica. An exception to this setup was during the 2007 feast, where both the original head and the body were combined in celebration of the Black Nazarene's 400 year history.