The Black Nazarene is a life-sized, dark-colored, wooden sculpture of Jesus Christ held to be miraculous by many people, especially its Filipino devotees. Its original carver is an anonymous Mexican carpenter, and the image was transported by galleon from Mexico. The image is currently enshrined in the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo, Manila, Philippines where novena celebrations are held every Friday throughout the whole year. Roman Catholic tradition holds that the Black Nazarene came from a boat that caught fire, turning it from its original white into black or charred complexion. The Black Nazarene is carried into the streets for procession in a "Caroza" or carriage.
The feast of the Most Holy Black Nazarene is celebrated every 9th of January while novena masses begin on the first Friday day of the year, in honor of its weekly novena mass held every Friday. During the annual public procession, only the body of the Black Nazarene is displayed in procession to the public, while the original head portion of the statue is retained in the Basilica of the Black Nazarene within the high altars of the church. The Black Nazarene is also famously noted for its devotees who walk the procession streets barefoot, without shoes or sandals as to imitate Jesus Christ on his way to Mount Calvary.
The image was brought to the Philippines by the Augustinian Recollect Missionaries on May 31, 1606. It was initially enshrined in the first Recollect church in Bagumbayan (now part of Rizal Park). On September 10, 1606, the church was inaugurated and placed under the patronage of St. John the Baptist. In 1608, the Nazarene image was transferred to the second bigger Recollect church of San Nicolas de Tolentino built inside the fortress of Intramuros. Between the years 1767 and 1790, the Archbishop of Manila, Basilio Sancho de Santas Justa y Rufina, ordered the transfer of the image of the Nazareno to the church in Quiapo under the patronage of St. John the Baptist. The intensity of the devotion to the Nuestro Padre Jesus Nazareno flourished and spread throughout the Philippines.
Today, the head portion of the Black Nazarene is retained in the high altars of the Quiapo church while the body is used for public procession. In the 2007 Black Nazarene feast, both the original head and the body were combined together in celebration of the Black Nazarene's 400 year old history.
The veneration of the Black Nazarene is very popular among Filipinos because of their religious piety and devotion to the sufferings of Jesus Christ. Many devotees of the Black Nazarene attribute their poverty and struggles in the daily society to the wounds and tribulations of Jesus Christ, as represented by the Black Nazarene. Although the patron saint of the Minor Basilica of Black Nazarene is originally Saint John the Baptist, the consecration of the Black Nazarene has gained more popular because Jesus Christ is the center of piety and devotion, which may or may not be interceded through a saint.