El Señor de la Vera Cruz

El Señor de la Vera Cruz  (The Lord of the True Cross)

By Gregory Huston

After having returned from a 9-day vacation to Cuba, I look back at my time in one particular town. The name of the town was Trinidad, Cuba. A lot stood out to me in this place. I felt an authentic and unique feeling of community among the people that lived there. As I walked thru the cobblestone streets, the character of the town, while very impoverished was clearly rich in faith among its locals. You could tell that there was an incredible history buried within the walls of this colonial town. As I glanced into the homes while walking the streets, the common theme honored in every home was the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Every family, in their homes, in their restaurants, and in their stores hung this common portrait of Jesus pointing to his heart.  It was very moving for me to see a community collectively share in honoring their Savior.

Picture Taken of Portrait of the Sacred Heart of Jesus hung inside El Sol y Son Restaurant in Trinidad, Cuba.

As we entered the Plaza Mayor, there stood La Iglesia Parroquial de la Santísima or Holy Trinity Church. The church was closed so we were only able to see what it looked like from the outside.

La Iglesia Parroquial de la Santísima (Holy Trinity Church) in Trinidad, Cuba.

After wandering around we decided to go have dinner. We ate at El Sol y Son which was considered by many to be one of the best restaurants in the Trinidad region of Cuba. After dinner, my friends and I decided to walk over to the Plaza after the sun had gone down. The square was filled with many locals and tourists enjoying the beautiful evening. I decided to take a picture of my friends walking towards the church.

Picture taken on July 21, 2017 in Plaza Mayor in front of La Iglesia Parroquial de la Santísima in Trinidad, Cuba.

Later that evening when I revisited the picture, I noticed something unusual within it. In the center of the picture, there appeared to be two illuminated images that did not appear to originate from an electrical source. When I took the picture, I specifically remember where all of the light sources were coming from. There was no light fixture on under the eve above the front door of the church.  The front door of the church was also closed.  To my surprise, there appeared in the picture what looked like an illumination of Our Blessed Mother. It seemed as though she was standing next to another light positioned directly in line with where the Blessed Sacrament would likely be within the church.

Zoomed in portion of Picture Taken showing Our Blessed Mother standing next to the Blessed Sacrament.

When I got home from the trip, I was curious to know what might be inside this church. Upon doing a little research online, I discovered what lied within this holy place. The church is home to one of Cuba’s most famous religious icons. It is known as El Señor de la Vera Cruz (The Lord of the True Cross). Within the church, Our Blessed Mother stands to the left of her son on the cross. She happens to be standing in the same position as the illumination in the picture that was taken.

El Señor de la Vera Cruz (The Lord of the True Cross) within La Iglesia Parroquial de la Santísima (Holy Trinity Church) in Trinidad, Cuba.

History of El Señor de la Vera Cruz

In the early 18th century, a hurricane had destroyed the original church that was built on this site. Apparently it took roughly 75 years to build a new church. This 18th century wooden sculpture of Christ was originally supposed to be shipped to Veracruz, Mexico. When the ship carrying the icon had left the port, it was forced to return to Cuba due to bad weather. Two more attempts were made to ship the icon to Veracruz, only to be thwarted again by bad weather. After three failed attempts to ship the icon, church officials believed this to be divine intervention and ordered the cross to remain in the town of Trinidad, Cuba.

Perhaps it is because of the rich faith of the people of Trinidad and the honor given to Our Lord in every home, that the Holy Family has made their presence clearly known here among the community.