El Señor de Huanca: Cusco’s Lord of Miracles
13 September 2019
Over the ages, miraculous apparitions of saints and sacred deities have been reported in religious traditions around the world.
In the Catholic tradition, events in which the Virgin Mary has appeared to devout children and suffering followers are well known; for example at Lourdes, France in the 19th century; at Fatima, Portugal in 1912, and at Medjugorge, Yugoslavia just before the terrible 1997 war.
Apparitions of Jesus Christ also have occurred in many places around the world. Following apparition events, those sites has become holy shrines, where millions of pilgrims come to pray, worship and ask to the deities for blessings and miracles.
Cusco has its own Lord of Miracles, El Señor de Huanca, a deeply venerated manifestation of Jesus Christ that is centered around its pilgrimage site at Huanca, about an hour away from Cusco city.
The story of the apparition of the Señor de Huanca during the Spanish Viceroyalty is a fascinating and poignant example of how both colonial oppression and religious devotion shaped Andean history and influenced Andean religion.
With the arrival of the Spanish, the invaders enslaved the indigenous people of the Andes and subjected them to forced labor in their mines- a regime of cruelty and humiliation.
A process of evangelization took place in which many indigenous people began to identify with the suffering of Jesus Christ, who had suffered as they did. Cults to Jesus arose in many parts of the Spanish Viceroyalty.
The story behind the tradition
In Cusco, the story goes as follows: in 1675 the Marquis of Valleumbroso discovered a rich vein of gold, and soon subjected the local descendants of the Incas to backbreaking work.
Many were mistreated and many died. On one occasion, a humble worker, Diego Quispe, came to the defense of another worker who was being whipped. He was immediately imprisoned and condemned to also be whipped.
During the night, Diego escaped. As daylight approached, he hid in a small grotto of a rock formation. Hearing the footsteps of the Spaniards looking for him, the fearful Diego prayed the Lord’s Prayer and Hail Mary for the entire day.
That night, he was about to leave when an extremely brilliant light blinded him. He was filled with emotion as he witnessed the figure of Jesus Christ, bleeding from the whipping he had received, who told Diego that he was to be a dove of peace and compassion for his people, and to go back to his town to receive communion.
Diego fell asleep, and again the next morning Christ spoke to him. A thankful Diego offered Him a small cross.
Later, Diego returned to the site with a group of pilgrims and a local priest. They entered the grotto to verify Diego’s story, and indeed also witnessed the apparition of a bleeding Christ.
Later, the church sent a painter to the site where, as if guided by an invisible hand, a portrait of the Christ was painted on the rock.
From that time on until today El Señor de Huanca has attracted the devotion of thousands pilgrims and followers who come to worship at the site.
Celebrations in Cusco
The Lord of Huanca is also honored with impressive statues and paintings at the church of La Merced in downtown historic Cusco, and at churches in Lima and Huancayo. Many people come to ask the Señor de Huanca to bless their homes and new cars.
El Señor de Huanca is just one example of the richness of Andean culture , with all its diverse influences and complex history.
There is so much to see in Cusco that will enlighten you and will fill you with wonder.
Please contact us at: andeanlodges.com to reserve your Andean Lodges acclimatization program. During which you’ll able to explore the wondrous cultural and historic legacy of the Andes, as you prepare for your exciting trek to Ausangate, Cusco’s most beautiful and sacred mountain.