Tag Archives: El-Naza

The Black Christ of Portobelo: Lasting Impressions


As the yearly celebration of the Black Christ of Portobelo begins to enter into Panama’s collective psyche, I begin to draw mental pictures, as an artist would of this whole scene that is an intimate part of our folklore and spiritual heritage and is very much Panamanian. Continue reading

The Black Christ of Portobelo Part II

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

The Black Christ of Portobelo Part I

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