of St. Regis
Bienvenidos a la Parroquia
de San Regis
St. Regis Parish at 3235 Parkview Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213-4597 US - Our Lord of Miracles/Señor de los Milagros
Our Lord of Miracles/Señor de los Milagros
In Lima, Peru, October is known as “The Purple Month.” The reason why started some time ago in the outskirts of Lima in the year 1651. It was there that a slave from Angola decided to paint an image of Christ. Little did he know the impact his dark skinned depiction of The Messiah would have on future generations.
This painting hung quietly on the wall of a small church until 1655. Peruvian tradition tells that that year there was a large earthquake that leveled the entire area. The entire area, that is, except for one wall on a small church holding a painting of a dark skinned Christ. The legend continues that this wall went unnoticed and left unprotected for some time until a man walking through the rubble noticed it and felt compelled to clean the wall and care for the painting. But, this man was ill… so, in exchange for his hard work, he asked God, through the image, to heal his sickness. Lo and behold, his sickness was cured… a miracle! Word spread quickly, and soon this painting was well known and revered. The site became the regular location of spirited celebrations… primarily by the slave community. Soon these festivities attracted the attention of the local powers who commanded the painting be destroyed. Legend contends that officials were dispatched to do the dirty work but for a variety of reasons including fainting spells and immobility were unable to get rid of the image. Recognizing the power of the painting the Catholic church decided to build a chapel around the image, christening it “The Chapel of the Holy Christ of Miracles.”
Later, in 1687, the area was ravaged by another brutal quake and this paintings place in history was set. Again, the entire area was reduced to rubble except that wall with that special image. Astonished once again by the power of the painting, the people of Lima had a copy of the painting made so that it could be paraded through the streets as a request for protection and healing. In 1878, the Brotherhood of Carriers and Incense Burners of the Lord of Miracles was formally established, with a notable presence of African descendants. So began the tradition of “Senor de los Milagros”… “Lord of Miracles.”
The entire month is dedicated in honor of the “Lord of Miracles” with images of this dark skinned Christ clad in a purple robe can be found throughout the city. On October 18th of every year the festivities culminate and the Lord of Miracles procession parades from that small church (now known as Iglesia Nazarenas) through the streets of Lima. The roads are flooded as hundreds of thousands of people flock to the procession in celebration. The energy level is high… with marching bands and street vendors and thousands clad in purple robes in honor of the occasion.
Now the tradition has spilled out of Lima into the entire country and over borders into many parts of the world… even the US. We at St. Regis are proud to have our own copy of Our Lord of Miracles and to process and celebrate the occasion.