Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Senhor Santo Cristo

In the center of PONTA DELGADA, the main city of Sao Miguel, there is a convent which houses the Senhor Santo Cristo. Decked out in gold embroidered robes, the Senhor is a wooden image of Jesus Christ. I was told that the legend behind the Santo Cristo is that it appeared miraculously at a convent in Caloura. Pirates allegedly stole the statue from Caloura and brought it to a convent in Ponta Delgada. I´ve read online that the statue was given to two nuns by the Pope and that it was moved by the nuns to the convent in the capital to keep it safe from raiders.

To this day there are festivals held to venerate the statue. Duarte was telling me that they parade the statue around the city in a huge procession. Older women, who are praying for their relatives to leave purgatory and ascend to heaven, will carry heavy candles. The heavier the candle, the greater the burden for their loved ones to reach paradise. Some women walk the procession on their knees as they see greater suffering as a way to make a stronger plea to God. Many people believe that the statue itself has power to do miracles.

Every day the statue is available to the public for a short amount of time. Many people come to pray and to venerate the statue. People also make embroidered robes and golden accessories for the statue to wear during the feast which celebrates it.

For more history see here:

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