Campeche, Mexico is a city on the Yucatan Peninsula. It is located on the Gulf of Mexico side of the Yucatan. When film companies needed to recreate Cuba, they would shoot in Campeche. It is a beautiful city. It is an old city. There is a massive wall around the original city to protect it from never ending pirate and invader attacks.
Around 1563 some folks decided to build a small church just outside the city walls. In 1565 they sent one of their senior parishioners on a ship to the main port in Mexico, Veracruz. Upon arrival, this man began searching for the perfect crucifix for the front alter. He found a newly arrived piece from Europe that was carved from black ebony. It was a stunning piece. So he bought it. Now he needed to get it crated up and back to Campeche. A journey of about a week by boat.
The first ship he approached refused to take him or his crate. The captain openly professed he did not like Jesus, did not like God, and wanted nothing to do with him and that he should get lost. This captain was, to say the least, highly unpleasant. So our man moved on to another ship. This time he was welcomed with open arms and the captain insisted that the crate be made very secure so that nothing would happen to it and it would be protected.
Well, you can guess what happened next…
On the voyage back to Campeche, a massive storm arose. The ship that had refused to take the shipment was completely destroyed. All the hands on the other ship, were so afraid they hid below deck and prayed they would survive. They did survive. They swore that during the storm a black man had taken control of the ship and had guided it safely through the storm. They had no black sailors aboard.
They reached their port in Campeche in only 24 hours. When they arrived, the dock was lined with people from the city to greet the ship and receive the new crucifix for their church. When asked how they even knew to come down and meet the ship, they replied that a black man and been running through the city that night knocking on doors and telling them when the ship would arrive so they could come an carry the crucifix to the new church.
When they opened the water tight crate, they found a very wet Black Jesus who appeared as though he had been out in a storm.
Over the years many miracles have been attributed to this image. To this day, sailors come to pray for safe passage on their journeys.
This story was told to me by several native people when I was in Campeche. I have stood only inches from this image. It is an exquisite carving and work of art. It is made of black ebony wood. It is about 452 years old.
Cristo Negro (Black Jesus) is in the church of San Román, Campeche, Mexico.
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