By Barbara Davidson, Los Angeles Times
The photos in the gallery above were taken this month when a Mass was celebrated at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, followed by a long procession to the Church of Our Lady Queen of the Angels–La Placita. Twenty-four men, in shifts, carried a 2-ton makeshift altar bearing a replica of an ancient painting of Christ. Women carrying incense prayed alongside hundreds of worshippers into the night to honor Al Senor De Los Milagros during the annual Los Angeles celebration.
Legend has it that in 1651, on the outskirts of Lima, Peru, a slave from Angola painted a dark-skinned image of Christ that hung inside a small village church.
In 1655, the Callao 7.7 earthquake hit Lima and leveled the church except the wall where the painting hung. A villager stumbled upon the painting, brushed off the debris, and then prayed to the image of Christ, asking for his illness to be cured. According to the legend, the man was cured and it was declared a miracle. News spread and people gathered from far and wide to celebrate at the site where the miracle took place. The gatherings upset local authorities, who ordered the wall torn down. But those trying to tear down the wall were reportedly overpowered by sudden illnesses every time.
The Catholic Church decided to build the Chapel of the Holy Christ of Miracle to protect the painting.
In 1687, an 8.7 earthquake struck Lima and leveled the church except for the wall and the painting again. Moved by the powers of the painting, the villagers had a copy made and paraded it through the streets of Lima as a symbol of healing and protection. Out of this, in 1878, the Brotherhood of Carriers and Incense Burners of the Lord of Miracles was created, and so began the tradition of celebrating the “Senor de los Milagros” or “Lord of Miracles.” In fact, the entire month of October is dedicated annually to honor the Lord of Miracles.