The Philippine government, through the country’s consulate general in Barcelona, presented a replica of the Santo Niño de Cebu to the Basilica dela Sagrada Familia on Sunday, December 5.
The image of the Child Jesus is a gift from the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño de Cebu to Spain to mark the quincentennial celebration of the arrival of Christianity in the Philippines.
The original image of the Child Jesus originated from Flanders, now part of Belgium, and was brought by Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan during his expedition in 1519 and was presented as his gift to Juana, Queen of Cebu, in 1521.
The Spaniards returned to Cebu in 1565 and was surprised that the early Filipinos was able to preserve the image of the Child Jesus as an icon of their pre-colonial belief system, said a press release from the National Quincentennial Committee.
Since then, the image became a powerful Christian icon throughout the country, it added.
To welcome the image in Spain, a Holy Mass was celebrated by Archbishop Bernardino Auza, papal nuncio to Spain, and a native of Bohol in the central Philippines.