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Philippines: Devotees jostle for 22 hours to touch Black Nazarene


(CNN)Wailing worshippers crammed the hot streets of the Philippines’ capital for 22 hours Monday as they fought to make contact with a holy statue believed to grant miracles.

More than a million Catholics joined this year’s Traslacion, a dramatic religious parade returning a dark, life-size wooden statue of Jesus — called the Black Nazarene — to the Quiapo Church in Manila.

The parade started Monday at the Quirino Grandstand, and the procession finally ended on Tuesday morning just after 3:30 a.m., local time, when the Black Nazarene statue was returned to the Quiapo Church.

The route was only 6.9 kilometers (4.3 miles) long, but the huge crowds reduced the pace to a shuffle.

Traslacion means “transfer,” referring to the transfer of the image of the Black Nazarene to the church. The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) on Sunday announced that 18 million participants from across the country were expected to join the procession.

However, police estimated that only about 1.5 million devotees turned out.

The Black Nazarene dates back to 1606, when the statue of Jesus kneeling on one knee arrived in the Philippines from Mexico. In 1620, the first confraternity dedicated to the Black Nazarene was established.

In 1767, the popularity of the icon was recognized by Christian leaders when the Black Nazarene was moved to the Quiapo Church and its devotees followed.

Read more at CNN.

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