Jesus de Gran Poder

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By Luci Lizares

Saturday, April 12, 2014

AS WE enter into this most holy season of Holy Week, we will encounter how Christ suffered for us. In Sevilla, Spain, side by side with the Virgen de la Esperanza is the devotion to Jesus Gran Poder. In our local acknowledgement, it is the Nazareno.

If you are on a pilgrimage, Sevilla is a perfect place because there so many churches within a radius of one kilometer. Sevillanos are staunch Catholics compared to other parts of Europe or even Spain. And in every church, there is an altar dedicated to the Gran Poder.

However, there is a Basilica of the Jesus de Gran Poder and every Sevillano we met told us to make that special visit and Mae and I did.


The Basilica of the Gran Poder was designated as a basilica by Pope John Paul II in 1992.

The Sevillanos adore Jesus de Gran Poder— the all powerful Jesus. He is the Lord with the greatest power on earth. The Sevillanos believe that He is the Almighty Lord and has the supreme power to quash all that is evil in the world. We should not be crucified to our crosses because His mighty Hand conquers all.

The message that we learn from Jesus de Gran Poder is that like Christ the Nazareno, we must carry our crosses with love and trust that the Lord has power over all of them. I remember that during the Yolanda disaster, the victims were fleeing with their images of the Nazareno. They have lost their homes, their families, fleeing with no food and clothing but they clung and surrendered themselves to the Gran Poder of Our Lord Jesus.

And they found their peace and their strength. It’s amazing how religious traditions in prayers and rituals transcend into authentic conversions of true faith and trust.

In the Basilica, there is a tall golden wooden statue of Jesus adorned with purple robes and carrying the cross in the main altar. However, people line up to pass behind the statue, kissing its ankle and saying a quick prayer.

We saw a very touching scene of a lola lifting up her granddaughter to kiss the ankle of the Christ. The statue is encased in a glass panel and only his ankle is exposed. Mae and I must have been really guided by the Holy Spirit because we accomplished all these without definite instructions.

The Basilica de Gran Poder is the See of the Brotherhood of the Gran Poder. During Holy Week, the Brotherhood of the Gran Poder takes care of the procession of the Jesus de Gran Poder. In the season of penance, the brothers wear robes of black tail Rouen, with wide belt of straw with headdress (the KuKlux Clan look).

While our caros are run by generators, costaleros support the beams of the carroza upon their shoulders and necks, lift, move and lower the caro manually. They are hidden from the view by a curtain, and the caro appears like it’s moving by itself. You can imagine the heat they must be suffering but they all offer it up to Jesus de Gran Poder.

There is an overseer (capataz), who guides the team by voice, or through a ceremonial hammer. A carroza would weigh almost a metric ton and usually requires about 24 to 54 costaleros to move depending on the size of the caro.

The Brotherhood or La Hermandad del Gran Poder was founded in Seville in 1477. The brotherhood’s official name is: Pontifical and Royal Brotherhood and Brotherhood of Our Father Jesus Nazarene of Great Power and the Virgin of Suffering and Transfer. Also on Good Friday, carroza of the Suffering Virgin comforted by St John goes into procession under the supervision of the Brotherhood. Locally, we call this the Soledad.

While we are most familiar with the Nazareno, what a transcending thought and trust that we have an all powerful God who will carry my crosses together with me and make it all well with His almighty power!

Thank you, Lord!

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on April 12, 2014.


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