Jesus Nazareno de La Merced represents the image of the devotion of the Catholics of Antigua Guatemala. It is the most awaited procession during the Holy Week, each year makes the penitential tour every Holy Friday (Good Friday). Thousands of parishioners, from very early hours of the morning, come to observe the processional journey, this is adorned with the already well-known Holy Week carpets that are elaborated with a lot of dedication and hard work.
In Antigua Guatemala, the activity of Good Friday begins from the first minute of the dawn, when a representation of a group of Roman soldiers cross the streets of Antigua Guatemala giving the news that the high commanders have taken the decision to crucify Jesus.
The story tells that every Good Friday, starting at dawn, it rains in Antigua Guatemala, but just before the 4:00 AM (if you are visiting Antigua, please check the schedule at La Merced church, for this may change), the rain stops to allow the procession of Jesus of Nazareno to begin the journey at the rhythm of the steps of the 'cucuruchos'.
The procession retains its traditional characteristics that represent the 'Via Sacra' that recall the journey to Calvary. The image of the Nazarene wears a red robe without embroidery, carries a cross of wood and wears a crown of thorns on his head. It is said that the Crown of Thorns has been brought from the Holy Land. The sculpture of Jesus Nazareno de La Merced was sculpted by Mateo de Zuñiga a long time ago, this sculpture was the first to be consecrated in Guatemala and Central America. The tradition and tour of this procession began in 1675 and is perhaps one of the most awaited by the faithful Catholics as well as tourists to Antigua Guatemala.
After a prayer and creed, the second procession begins at 3:00 p.m., and departs from The Church of St. Joseph Cathedral (San José Catedral), the image is called "Holy Burial." Simultaneously, another procession leaves the church San Felipe de Jesus. Later, at 4:00 p.m., the procession Jesús Sepultado leaves the School of Christ, an image accompanied by La Dolorasa Virgen María. On this same day, you can also see the procession of the Holy Burial coming out of the church School of Christ (Escuela de Cristo).
If you are in the city, we recommend confirming schedules and routes for the processions.