Epidemics at the origin of Easter

Epidemics at the origin of Easter

Epidemics at the origin of Easter

The diseases that have plagued societies have given rise to some Brotherhoods and Brotherhoods, and were also the trigger for extraordi...
Comments Thursday, May 07, 2020
Epidemics at the origin of Easter

The diseases that have plagued societies have given rise to some Brotherhoods and Brotherhoods, and were also the trigger for extraordinary processions or pardon.
History is a cyclical story that tends to repeat itself. Therefore, the circumstances that have engulfed last Easter without "processions" on the street, reminds us of situations already lived by our ancestors.
Now it is the “coronavirus”, but in past centuries it was the plague.
However, the parallelism with the current spring situation, we find it in the 17th century, due to the three epidemic outbreaks that throw a tragic balance of victims in the cities.
Already in March 1,602, the convenience of suspending processions that year also grew.
Also in the spring of 1,650, the authorities were forced to ban the “processions” for fear of the spread of the epidemic, although due to pressure from the Brotherhoods, they chose to give freedom to the Brotherhoods.
The great power of convening the Holy Week in Cordoba in its baroque stage of splendor and boom, forces to put on the table the suspension of the "processions" for having founded the spread of "epidemics in the seventeenth century", a situation that unfortunately is back today today.
As a result of crises of this type, new Brotherhoods have emerged such as the Brotherhood of San Joaquín and the Virgen de los Dolores de Zaragoza.
The relationship between the "epidemic" episodes and Easter is not only a means of protection or regret, but also the "Brotherhoods" intervened in the care and transfer of corpses. In “Apuntes de Alcañiz”, a work by Eduardo Jesús Taboada dating from 1898, it is read that the Brotherhood of the Holy Burial of the locality under Aragonese, during the choleric epidemic worked with enthusiasm, and the brothers had a rigorous turn to visit the sick.
Beyond the penitential parades that take place every Easter, the history of Spain and especially Andalusia is riddled with extraordinary “processions”. Some of the most notable are the "prayers", basically public prayers made to God to get remedy in a serious need, ask for the preservation of the earth's assets and give thanks for being free from the scourges and misfortunes. The origin of the "prayers is very old, going back to the first centuries of Christianity
In the face of misfortunes the people always went to those images of deep-rooted devotion to ask for their protection or intercession.
The example we have in our city with “Santa María de África”, which saved two major epidemics (1,651 and 1,743), with its procession through the streets of the city, making a stop in the gardens of San Sebastián, looking towards the strait at the request of the inhabitants of Gibraltar, all of which, we echoed in recent and extensive information in this newspaper.
Epidemics have been news throughout history on numerous occasions, even before news existed as such. Today the answer is in the sciences, but several centuries ago, the answers came through religious beliefs. “The painful dimension of these situations made it necessary to insist on the Passion of Christ and, in return, the resurrection of Christ was raised as a hope in the face of the high mortality rate.
Here we present some relevant examples that occurred in past centuries.

Virgin against the Plague: Valencia 1,347

In the 14th century, 1,347, the “black plague,“ bubonic plague ”occurred. Originating in Asia, it arrived in Valencia through Italy on ships from Genoa, and here it was deployed throughout the territory in 1,348. Plague, which later reproduced from 1,363 for several years to 1,395. At this time the devotion, veneration and worship of the “Virgin against the Plague” arose, to which a “chapel” was dedicated in the Cathedral of Valencia
In the 17th century, the "black plague" was reborn. In 1647, the epidemic arrived in Valencia from the Maghreb by sea. 30,000 people died. Even the Viceroy, the Count of Oropesa, was affected by the epidemic, and he was miraculously cured by having the image of the Virgin of the Forsaken taken to the palace in a "procession" of prayers, as a result of which he made the promise of raising a Chapel.
The emergence and flare-up of the epidemic caused them to once again put their thoughts on the “Virgin against the Plague” in her chapel, a work attributed to someone from the Ribalta School, where it appears, says F. Pedrell, “Jesus Christ afflicting the world with the rigors of the plague, figured with tongues of fire, and to the Virgin and Saint Vincent the martyr imploring their piety. Sheltered by a kind of canvas held by the Virgin and Saint Vincent, Baban, the infants of the chapel and some individual from their family appear kneeling. Other authors believe that it is not Saint Vincent but Saint Stephen.
Today in the midst of the “coronavirus” epidemic, the canvas “The Virgin against the Plague” is in the Cathedral Museum.

San Joaquín and the Virgen de los Dolores: Zaragoza 1,522

The merchants of the streets of Escuela Pías and Cerdán (now Avenida de César Augusto), of Zaragoza are the germ of this group. In 1,522 - the year of its founding - they entrusted San Joaquín to ask for protection and they "promised him a chapel" if he freed them from the "plague". "Having been freed from all those who made this vow, merchants and merchants of said street without harm or prejudice and, grateful for such a singular benefit, they presented themselves to the Prior of Santo Domingo, pleading with him to give us the place to build a chapel to the Saint and founded there a Brotherhood ”. This is referenced in the documents that are kept in the Brotherhood archive.
Between the 17th and 19th centuries the city also suffered several epidemics, as reflected in the "rogativas" (public prayers), carried out by the Brotherhood of the Blood of Christ in the Aragonese capital. For example, at 1,688, 1,868 or 1,876. The last one happened approximately 144 years ago: 1,885 the Cristo de la Cama “procession” in an extraordinary way to watch over the future of the city in the face of the cholera epidemic, which soon spread throughout the rest of the territory. In Zaragoza, the most excellent health students were authorized to care for the sick and "measures were taken" in cemeteries and schools: something similar to what is happening these weeks in our country.

The Christ of Saint Augustine: Granada 1,681

In Granada we have as a great protector, along with "the one who lives in the race", the Christ of Saint Augustine is the image to which the people of Granada have most resorted in difficult times. Since the year 1,681 it is considered “Sacred Protector of Granada”. It is around 1,520 when the community of religious Agustinos Calzados commissioned Jacobo Florentino to make this image that soon permeated the popular fervor and began to be the axis of the devotion of Granada, due to the many favors attributed to it. Thus in 1,587 prayers were made to him because Granada was devastated by a terrible "drought", prayers that were rewarded with copious and abundant rains.
In 1,679, when a very serious "plague epidemic" was declared in part of the Levant and Andalusia, the inhabitants of the city resort to the "intercession" of the Holy Christ, who came out in "procession" of prayers. As of that date, the epidemic began to "rebound", disappearing completely in a few days. The City Council, on behalf of all the inhabitants of the city, made a "Solemn Vow" to pay "Thanksgiving" annually before the Sovereign Effigy of the Most Holy Christ of Saint Augustine, a vote that is renewed every year.
In 1832, when an "Epidemic of Cholera" broke out, the people of Granada again impeded the intercession of their Holy Protector. Thus, on August 9, the Prior of the Community ordered that three days of "prayers" be held. As the epidemic did not completely subside, and problems arose to "process" the Image, it is two years later, when it finally succeeds in going out in a "procession" through the streets of the city, as a result of which the ills that They grieved Granada quickly remitted.
Precisely, in this year 2,020 the 500th anniversary of the “Image” is commemorated, it is one of the most valuable and oldest crucified in Andalusia attributed to the Italian Jacobo Florentino. It is a size of exceeding merit and extraordinary interest in its antiquity.
“For this reason, their custody and veneration must be both pride and responsibility in which all of us brothers participate”

The Grandfather: Jaén 1,681

The story of Jaén tells that in 1681, the “plague” devastated the streets of Jaén and much of Andalusia, leaving people dead in every corner.
A hospital was set up on the outskirts of the city, on the street that was called Juan Izquierdo at that time and that today has the name of Josefa Segovia. The "plague" patients were taken there with little or no chance of survival due to lack of cleanliness and assistance from nurses.
It was then that three friars from the Convent of San Francisco volunteered to help the plague patients. Even the hospital went in procession with the image of San Francisco and got down to work with cleaning the entire hospital.
The friars fell ill infected by the plague, of which only one of them survived. And seeing that the epidemic was increasing, the devotees went to the Image of the one known as "El Abuelo" looking for a remedy.
The image of Our Father Jesús Nazareno was taken in a "procession" to the hospital to beg that this "epidemic" stop. And as they say, from that moment, there was not one more death. A few days later the hospital closed and his keys were placed on the arm of the "Grandfather", being today one of the most symbolic details of the Holy image of Jaén.

Jesús El Rico The pardon: Malaga 1,795

The privilege of pardon, still preserved by some Spanish Brotherhoods, also places its origin in an "epidemic". It was 1795, with Carlos III on the throne, when the "plague" spread through Malaga. "The inmates of the prison near the convent where the stature of JESÚS EL RICO was venerated requested permission to remove it in procession." The authorities did not approve the permit, however, they escaped from the prison to carry out their idea, "processing" the image through the streets of Malaga most affected by the "epidemic." The outcome of the story pointed out by the Brotherhood of Our Father Jesus the Rich is that the plague “suddenly disappeared”. Hence, it is committed to "pardon" well-behaved inmates.
This tradition is also carried out by the Brotherhood of “Jesús Cautivo y Rescatado Medinaceli, from our city, who each year, in his transfer from the neighborhood of El Príncipe to his Brotherhood House, releases a prisoner.
Famous “Jesús el Rico” Brotherhood as it is known in Malaga, is the primitive image that has its origin in 1,558 with the constitution of the Brotherhood of Jesús Nazareno in the VeraCruz chapel of the San Luís del Real Convent. Later in 1756 he would obtain the Royal approval, to constitute himself as an independent Brotherhood with the name of “Jesús el Rico”. As we know, since the reign of Carlos III, by a privilege granted by this Monarch in a pragmatic Jesus "El Rico" frees a prisoner.
Jesús “El Rico” has the ability to move his arm through a mechanism, making the symbol of the Cross. It is the work of José Navas Parejo (1,939
Will a new Brotherhood or tradition emerge from this coronavirus crisis?



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