Some years ago, back in 2007, Peru was the victim of a terrible earthquake that, in addition to taking the lives of a significant number of residents, also took with it invaluable works that still await reconstruction today; one of these works in mention is the Luren Sanctuary, a Catholic construction that today is in ruins.
The old Luren Sanctuary was an original construction from the 16th century. In those years of the Colonial era, the temple until recently was a small hermitage that was erected by order of Nicolás de Ribera el Viejo, in the year 1558. Over time, the humble hermitage saw its dimensions expanded until it became the sanctuary that was until the fatal earthquake of 2007.
It is known that the most beloved effigy of the temple, and to whom it was dedicated (the Lord of Luren), was an effigy that arrived in Peruvian territory by miracle and accident. As it is said, the image of this man was carried in the seventies of the sixteenth century, in a galleon bound for the port of Callao. Unfortunately, during the sea voyage, the crew, with the intention of avoiding an imminent shipwreck, lightened the ship’s cargo by throwing the box containing this Christian image into the sea. No one knows how, but the effigy managed to reach the coast of Lima on its own, where it was found.
It is known that the image was originally destined for Ica, whose residents and clergy had requested Spain to promptly send an image to replace the deteriorated effigy that Nicolás de Ribera, the old man, had placed in his old hermitage. Aware of the shipwreck of the image, the priest from Ica, travels to Lima, with the intention of taking with him that effigy, supposedly damaged, of a Christ on the cross, who had arrived in Lima by shipwreck; After arriving in the city, the clergyman fulfills his objective and transfers the Christ to the town of Ica.
In Ica, the surprise of the people is great when, when opening the box that supposedly contained a deteriorated Christ, they find the intact image of the Christ on the Cross today known as the Lord of Luren. It is known that after the arrival of Christ in Ica, the church gradually improved its structure, until it presented the neoclassical structure that it already had in the 20th century, a period in which both Christ and the temple were painfully suffered the inclemency of a fire, which caused its prompt restoration, unfortunately, the temple succumbed again in 2007, although fortunately, as a product of a miracle, the Christ was preserved intact in that one.
Today, the temple remains in ruins, and is visited by tourists who hope at some point to see again the splendor that it presented a few years ago. Despite the destruction of the temple, the fervor that the people and visitors feel for the Christ of Luren continues to be valid, which is why the traditional celebrations continue to be given to him, which take place in the month of October.
It is located on Ayacucho street, block 10.
History of the Lord of Luren
The devotion to Nuestro Señor de Luren is considered the second largest devotion in Peru, which continues to attract more faithful and which returned to its renovated sanctuary after the earthquake that occurred in the city of Ica in 2007.
Father Gróver Cáceres, parish priest of the Santiago de Luren parish, told ACI Prensa that the devotion dates back to the 16th century.
“At that time there was already a small chapel that venerated a Crucified Christ, who was also small. As it was an agricultural area, rain was needed. So the villagers used to carry out processions at night, praying and asking the Lord to send the rain”, the priest said.
According to Fr. Cáceres, due to the growth of devotion, a larger place was built, which came to be known as “Urin Ica”, which means “lower part of Ica”. Over time, «Urin» became «Luren.»
In 1570, a Franciscan father decided to acquire a life-size image and traveled to Lima to look for it. He went to the Franciscan convent, finding an image in a drawer rescued from a shipwreck. «Everyone thought it was damaged, so they handed it over without seeing it,» said the priest and was taken to Ica on February 25.
“The devotion was growing and consolidating, being part of this city of Ica. I would say that the history of this city goes hand in hand with the history of Señor de Luren, and that is why we can say that the people’s faith in Him is part of their life. For this reason, when we sing the hymn we say ‘you are the soul of our city,’ ”the priest recalled.
The current image was restored by sculptors from Ica after the 1918 fire that destroyed the chapel where it was venerated.
The 7.9 earthquake on August 15, 2007 «marked a lot in the faith of the people.» «The day after the earthquake, the image of the Lord of Luren was rescued from the parish, it was intact, and was taken to the parish hall, where the Eucharists were officiated for about 10 days while the provisional chapel was prepared,» said the priest.
For this reason, from the month of September or October of the same year they began to worship the image, as well as their festivity in the same month.
According to the priest, different proposals were presented for the reconstruction of the temple. However, the people of Ica requested that the original design be respected, as well as the details.
“Our people wanted to see the Shrine as they knew it as children, and that is what has been done. The central nave has grown about 6 meters long and 4 and a half meters to the sides. The original temple only had one nave, now it has two more naves, both for the right and the left”, he said.
“This work has been done by faith, united as a people with our authorities, companies and the Catholic Church. We can do great things when we all come together as a Church”, he commented.
For his part, the Bishop of Ica, Mons. Héctor Vera Colona, ??stated that it is not only about popular religiosity around an image, but about «the unity of a people who have loved the Lord in a place where they can speak with him, talk, feel his closeness and open his spirit”.
Likewise, the Prelate commented that the Ica people eagerly awaited the return of the image for a long time, highlighting their joy.
“Someday John Paul II said that the culture of the image should come through the meditation of the mysteries of the Holy Rosary. I look at the image of the Lord of Luren, I see the Crucified Lord and I do not see him powerless or limited, but rather from the Cross saying to his mother: ‘Here is your son, console yourself with the love of that son’ «, said the Bishop to ACI Press.
In addition, he asserted that «the Lord means closeness, and closeness to Jesus means closeness to others,» said the prelate, who was also accompanied by young seminarians.
The style of the Luren Sanctuary is of neoclassical architecture with a Latin cross plan. It is characterized by having three portals with brick arches. The story goes back to the construction of the old hermitage on May 13, 1556, a time when the city of Ica, then called Villa de Valverde, had still been founded.
Various events have occurred such as fires, earthquakes in the 17th – 19th and 20th centuries causing the partial or total destruction of the temple, the most regrettable occurred on June 18, 1918. Due to the carelessness of some of the faithful who left burning candles in the temple, caused a fire, thus burning the body of Christ. Determining with this that on June 24, 1918 the Pro-temple committee of Luren called «The 16 Friends» is organized, and they begin the reconstruction of the Christ and the current Temple.
Nowadays inside you can see the «Christ on the cross.» It is dark brown in color, with the Virgin standing looking at him and the Magdalena crying embracing in the lower part of the tree. The Christ measures approximately 1.80 cms. And his hair is human.
Ica, as every year in the purple month, in the patron saint festivities of the «Lord of Luren», becomes the capital of Christianity, because thousands of faithful, devotees come to Ica from different parts of the country and abroad to thank the patron from the city of Ica the favors received through his miracles and to be able to fulfill his promises to accompany him and carry him in his holy procession and in the novena ceremonies offered in his honor by the different guilds.
Inside you can see a large dome supported by huge columns, in which the image of Cristo Moreno stands out, known as the Lord of Luren, who is with the virgin looking at him standing and the statue of Magdalena crying hugged in the lower part of the tree. The Christ measures approximately 1.80 m and his hair is human.
The festival is celebrated in October and Easter, with a massive procession taking place.
Visit to the Luren Sanctuary:
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If you travel to Perú, we also recommend you to visit another impressive destinations in the city of Cusco like the tour to rainbow mountain peru or the humantay lake tour from cusco, which only takes one day. But if you are gonna to stay more days in Cusco, other archaeological places you can know will be the choquequirao trek peru, the salkantay trek to machu picchu, and the classic inca trail 4 days 3 nights.