Monday, April 27, 2015

BINONDO CHURCH: Santo Cristo de Longos and Nuestra Señora del Pronto Socorro

When one comes to speak about Binondo, you would remember it as Chinatown, or as the hometown of San Lorenzo Ruiz, or simply a place where you can eat tikoy or hopia everyday. But there's more we should know than all these. Each part of Binondo speaks of a certain legacy, a history that we should know more. 

The images of Santo Cristo de Longos and Ina ng Biglang Awa (Nuestra Señora del Pronto Socorro) are among the many treasures of Binondo, and testimonies of the faith of the Chinese, through the efforts of the Dominican Friars. There are lots of literature written about these venerated images of Jesus and Mary inside the Binondo Church posted everywhere in the internet, but then a photo speaks more than just words, right?


Ina ng Biglang Awa, enshrined on the left side of the
Basilica, near the Altar
The beautiful image of Nuestra Señora del Pronto Socorro is a framed oil painting placed over a sheet of metal. It depicts Our Lady standing on a half-moon, in red tunic and blue mantle She is holding the Child Jesus sitting on her right arm, holding a golden globe in his hands. It is surrounded by precious pearls and gold stars, while two crowns of gold rest upon the head of the Mother and Child.

The history of Nuestra Señora del Pronto Socorro dates back to the 16th Century, when people venerate her in the old Church of the Three Kings in the Parian District. She was transferred to the Capilla de San Gabriel in Binondo until the earthquake of 1863 when she was transferred to Binondo Church. She was named Ina ng Biglang Awa because of her prompt (quick) aid to those who come and ask her intercession in sickness and any other need.

From the time she was transferred to Binondo Church until recently, she was only venerated and honored every Second Saturday of the month. In September 2014, a permanent niche was made for her on the left side facing the Altar. There she is venerated by the faithful who come to her aid. 


The Corpus of the Santo Cristo de Longos,
as seen by a deaf mute person in the 16th Cent.
The Santo Cristo de Longos, on the other hand, shares the same period as the Ina ng Biglang Awa, but with a different context. It was said that in the 16th Century, a deaf mute Chinese was getting a pail of water in the Barrio of Longos. Upon pulling the pail out, he saw a blackened corpus of the Crucified Christ. Immediately, he was healed of his muteness and began shouting about his discovery.

The Crucified Christ, fitted to a Cross, was transferred to the Capilla de San Gabriel, until the earthquake of 1863 when, after seeing it unscathed, it was also transferred to Binondo Church, placing it inside a special niche by the side entrance. Since then, the image is venerated by the Faithful, especially by the Chinese. 

Separate shrines were built, one on the site of the old well of Barrio Longos where the corpus was found, and a side temple on one of the main streets of Binondo, where people come to burn incense sticks and offer prayers.

In fact, the Church is making its novena in honor of the Santo Cristo. After the 5:30 PM Mass, the image is taken down from the Altar to be venerated by the people. More shots HERE

These are just among the many wonderful treasures of Binondo, a heritage kept for many generations. It's wonderful to see and venerate these images which were also venerated by San Lorenzo Ruiz centuries ago. These two are among the many things to see in Manila Chinatown, a proof of the wonderful and deeply-rooted devotion the Chinese-Filipinos have for Our Lady and for her Son.

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