Statue of Christ carrying the cross will process Holy Wednesday in Caracas

NazarenoDeSanPablo DominioPublico 010420 The Nazarene of Saint Paul.

The statue of the Nazarene of Saint Paul will be processed April 8 through the streets of Caracas to help the faithful observe Holy Week.

It will be atop a popemobile used by St. John Paul II when he visited the country in 1985.

According to local tradition, the striking image was brought to Caracas from Seville in 1674. The wooden sculpture depicts Christ dressed in an ornately embroidered purple robe carrying his cross.

According to accounts, the image was processed in the city with prayers during a plague that broke out in Caracas in 1696, and the devotional act was credited with ending the pestilence.

The image was originally kept in a church dedicated to Saint Paul the Hermit, whose intercession was attributed to ending a plague in 1579. The wooden sculpture is now reserved in Saint Teresa Basilica, as Saint Paul's church was demolished and replaced with a municipal theater by an anticlerical president in 1881.

The procession is held annually on Holy Wednesday.

Cardinal Baltazar Enrique Porras Cardozo, Archbishop of Merida and apostolic administrator of Caracas, said the "route will cover a great part of the city for veneration by its devotees," and asked for understanding as the route itself has not yet been finalized and will be announced later.

According to local media, the prelate said in a letter that the image should be transported in accordance with safety and hygiene regulations to avoid spreading the coronavirus.

Porras said that the image should not be carried by people but transported by vehicle only and there should be another vehicle for a priest and assistant along with sound equipment for the prayers.

The archdiocese said that parishes can join the initiative and organize such a procession in their own areas as long as they observe the proper health precautions.

Finally, the archdiocese asked the faithful devotees of the Nazarene of Saint Paul to offer their prayers from their homes and to wait for the end of the coronavirus lockdown to visit the image in Saint Teresa Basilica.

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