This beautiful image of the Black Christ
of Portobelo never fails to evoke for me
the intensity of feelings that the devotees
have for this Christ’s manifestation.
Image thanks to gonomad.com
With the annual Black Christ celebration practically upon us- every 21st of October it is commemorated here in Panama- we felt the need to recall the details of this important religious tradition in Panama. This Wednesday promises to see the small town of Portobelo, on the remarkably beautiful Atlantic coast, packed with thousands of pilgrims and devotees not only from Panama but from all over the world. Now, more than ever, with tragedy stalking the streets and homes of Panama, the pilgrims have many urgent petitions to carry to this figure and symbol of Panamanian faith. Continue reading
The Black Christ of Portobelo. Image thanks to monumentoshistóricos.com
Ismael Rivera, El Sonero Mayor. Image thanks to grandesestrellas.com
The Church of San Felipe de Portobelo. Image thanks to tripadvisor.com
Through the years, many important miracles have been attributed to the Black Christ. The most well known miracle, however, is probably the one connected to the popular Puerto Rican singer, Ismael Rivera. In 1975, “the Brujo of Borinquen” (The Wizard of Borinquen) was about to give up his successful musical career due to his chronic addiction to drugs. Continue reading
Here I am dressed in the Nazarene’s colors.
- The splendid robes of the Black Christ of Portobelo.
My grandmother, Fanny Reid, was the first person I ever heard mention the Black Christ of Portobelo. I never made a pilgrimage to that Atlantic coastal village with her (and I don’t think she ever did either) but, she often made mention of him and of how he was peculiar to Panama. From that moment on in my childhood I developed a longing to know about this figure that lately has given rise to much controversy and ever more devotion from many parts of the world. Continue reading