Black Nazarene back in Quiapo Church after 22-hour procession


Posted at Jan 10 2017 04:00 AM | Updated as of Jan 10 2017 07:52 AM

MANILA - Devotees of the Black Nazarene welcomed the religious icon back into the Quiapo Church at 3:30 a.m. on Tuesday, 22 hours since the procession began at the Quirino Grandstand early morning on Monday.

This year's Traslacion took two hours longer than last year to bring back the statue of the Black Nazarene to its original home, as more than a million devotees joined the religious event.

Msgr. Hernando Coronel, rector of the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene, thanked the devotees for joining the annual Traslacion.

The Traslacion of the Black Nazarene is one of the world's biggest displays of Catholic devotion and showcases the Philippines' status as the Church's bastion in Asia.

The Traslacion covered a 6.9-kilometer route starting from the Quirino Grandstand and ending at the Quiapo Church. 

Security threat

This year's event was held under the threat of Islamic militant attacks, with authorities reporting more than 5,700 police had been deployed to provide security.

National police chief Ronald dela Rosa had said repeatedly in recent days that extremists who have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group may try to stage an attack.

The Philippines has a Muslim minority that is mainly based in the south of the country and has long resented the Catholic domination of their ancestral homelands.

A separatist rebellion in the south has claimed more than 120,000 lives since the 1970s.

The major rebel organizations are now involved in peace talks with the government and no longer waging armed conflict.

But small hardline groups still carry out attacks, particularly against Catholics.

The most recent was a bomb blast at a crowded market in Duterte's hometown of Davao in September last year that killed 15 people. - with report from Agence France-Presse