Dec 20, 2008

The Black Christ, Esquipulas, Guatemala

EsquipulasImage by jcwrenn via FlickrThe Black Christ, Esquipulas, Guatemala

The church in the town of Esquipulas is probably the most important Catholic shrine in Central America. It is the destination of pilgrims year-round, especially on 15 January, 9 March and St Stephen's Day. The sprawl of the town, filled with hotels and eateries to cater for the constant influx of devotees, is dominated by the four-domed basilica, immaculate by contrast to its surroundings and floodlit at night. Although this is a Catholic shrine, it is thought that the site was a sacred one long before the arrival of the Spanish. As often happens in rural Latin America, old traditions underlie the more recognisable Christian acts of faith. Villages across Guatemala send representatives to the basilica for one or more of the big occasions each year, and crowds can grow to more than 10,000, patiently snaking in a long queue for a glimpse of the Black Christ.

In 1595 an image of a crucified Black Christ was taken to a hermitage located in Esquipulas, a small village in eastern Guatemala (Fig. 1). Within several years a large parochial church was constructed to house the statue and its growing number of worshipers. In 1759 the image again was transferred, this time into an imposing basilica where it reposes today. Within eight years after the image's arrival in Esquipulas, a Mexican pilgrim reportedly experienced a miraculous cure at the shrine (Paz 1861). Throughout the remainder of the seventeenth century, countless cures were recorded by other pilgrims...

Following is a gallery of beatiful images of Our Lord of Esquipulas, the Black Christ and the Basillica that houses the sacred image.

Basílica de noche.

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gApayes-Esquipulas Guatemala

Inside the Basilica

basilica de esquipulas 2

La Basilica de Esquipulas

Esquipulas, Guatemala

Esquipulas (Guatemala)


Cristo Negro de Esquipulas
El Cristo de Esquipulas, Guatemala

Señor de Esquipulas

Señor de Esquipulas

cristo NEGRO - Esquipulas

El Cristo Negro

Cristo Negro de Esquipulas

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