Million and a half barefoot pilgrims pay homage to black statue of...

Million and a half barefoot pilgrims pay homage to black statue of Jesus Christ

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The devotees crowded around the carriage – pulled by ropes and pushed from behind – bearing the statue, known as the Black Nazarene, which is believed to have healing powers, as it crawled through the narrow streets.

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The faithful reached out towards the icon in the hope that even the slightest touch would bless them, heal their illnesses and those of their relatives.

“My purpose here is to give thanks to the Lord for all the blessings He has given me and my family every day,” Jimray Bacomage, 37, said, adding the Black Nazarene had healed his broken arm.

Black Jesus pilgrims in Manila, Philippines

About 80 percent of the more than 100 million people of the Philippines are Roman Catholic and the former Spanish colony is famous for its colourful religious festivals.

The Black Nazarene, a life-sized wooden statue of Christ kneeling with a cross on his shoulder, is also paraded through the city on Good Friday to commemorate his crucifixion.

“The Lord solved all the problems that came our way ever since I started attending the Feast of the Black Nazarene 16 years ago,” said Roilo Damiucon, 72.

Black Jesus pilgrims in Manila

About 4,000 soldiers, police and emergency workers were on duty for he procession but police said there were no serious incidents.

Pilgrims with the Black JesusUp to 15 million are expected to pay their respects, church officials said.

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