Jesús Nazareno “descends” again during a time of pandemic

The town’s treasured image of Jesús Nazareno has arrived in the heart of the historic centre – without parade or fuss.

ARCHIVE PHOTO: The descent of Jesus Nazareno in 2019

Tuesday 9th March 2021 | ALVARO MONFORT

Jesús Nazareno is in the heart of the town. One day later than planned (custom dictates that he descends in procession from his home in El Calvari on the third Sunday of Lent), he has fulfilled the rite of reuniting with the municipality that venerates him so much. As if it were a reminiscence of the past, it does so again in the midst of a pandemic, just as it happened in the nineteenth century when, according to local tradition, the people of Xàbia decided to move him to protect its people from the epidemic of Asian morbid cholera that was raging across the country.

Last year, the Nazarene didn’t leave his chapel. The coincidence of Lent in the middle of the national lockdown did not allow his descent and the residents of Xàbia could not entrust themselves to the safeguarding of the venerated image. Many missed it. However, the Brotherhood and the Parish of San Bartolomé have not wanted this to happen again and, almost clandestinely, without a procession or ceremonial acts, they have carried down the image in a transport truck so that he now rests in the fortress-church and can be visited and accompanied by all those who need to meet him.

The transfer was carried out by only five people with masks. In the church, the few people who have the honour of dressing the image and sprucing it up have done the rest. A few residents know every millimetre of the image. As if it were a ritual, this process is carried out with the utmost care, respect and in privacy.

For weeks, residents of the municipality have wondered what would happen this year. The restrictions are clear and do not allow carrying out any type of act that could cause crowds and carry possible infections. Hence, this option has been chosen – which is not the first time that it has been carried out – to bring the Nazarene closer to “the people”.

In 2020, the declaration of the first state of alarm and the lockdown caught everyone off guard and many events and fiestas were canceled. The first to do so were those dedicated to Jesús Nazareno. His Brotherhood kept hoping to celebrate some of the most fervid acts, but it could not be. However, the initiative of the residents is great and there were many proposals that emerged, also from this media, to commemorate on balconies, homes, streets and social networks; this deeply rooted celebration.

With the Nazarene at home, the door opens to the possibility of celebrating, for example, the usual novena that starts today and whose participation is subject to the health protocols that are followed in church of San Bartolomé during liturgical acts. Also that the image is present for Semana Santa which will take place at the end of the month.

Click below to read the original article in Spanish in Xàbia AL DÍA