A replica of the Black Nazarene was blessed Nov. 12 at St. John the Evangelist Church.


A replica of the Black Nazarene was blessed Nov. 12 at St. John the Evangelist Church.

November 23, 2015

The Black Nazarene, a large statue of Jesus beloved by Filipino Catholics, is now part of the religious scene in Edmonton.

A replica of the original crafted in the Philippines arrived in Edmonton in the summer and has since been blessed and is ready to be venerated.

It's a dark wooden statue of Jesus kneeling on one knee carrying a large wooden cross. It has been venerated in the Philippines for more than 400 years.

The Knights of Columbus' Nazareno Council, a mostly Filipino council based at St. John the Evangelist Church, purchased the life-sized statue of its patron in Paete, a small Filipino town known for its quality carvings.

Archbishop Richard Smith blessed the Black Nazarene following a Mass at St. John the Evangelist Church Nov. 12.

Grand Knight Robert Croteau said the 253-member Nazareno Council bought the statue in honour of its 15th anniversary next year. Following the blessing, the council was formally dedicated to the Black Nazarene.

It is unclear where the statue will be housed. "We would like it to be at St. John the Evangelist, but we don't have confirmation yet that it can stay," Croteau said. He put the statue's price tag at $5,000, including freight.

Council advisor Lito Reyes said the statue is a replica of the real Black Nazarene in Manila, which has become an emblem of passion, struggle and faith for Filipino Catholics.

"We want the Filipino community to have a devotion right here in Edmonton instead of going to the Philippines (to worship the Nazarene)," Reyes said.

In Manila, the Black Nazarene is enshrined in the Quiapo Church, a minor basilica. It has survived blazing fires that destroyed the church twice, two earthquakes, the floods of numerous typhoons and bombings during the Second World War.

The procession of the Black Nazarene is the largest procession in the Philippines. Every year on Jan. 9, millions of devotees gather to take part in a spectacular religious procession, during which devotees carry a replica of the statue across Manila.

Reyes said the Nazareno Council plans to offer the statue to churches that want to have it as part of their worship.