Venezuela has its patron saint of miracles, “El Santo Cristo de la Grita”

Each year, thousands and thousands of pilgrims move to the town of La Grita Tachira state to commemorate the day of the “Christ of the Miracles” or “Christ of the Serene Face” on August 6.


For more than 406 years the parishioners of Táchira and different parts of Venezuela or other countries, congregate in the Diocesan Sanctuary to celebrate the Pontifical Mass and to pay honor to who for many generations has granted favors to the people who come to meet him and devotion. This mass or act of faith begins at 10 o’clock every 6 August and all the ecclesiastical authorities of the region, bishops, priests, two deacons, nuns, seminarians and other civil authorities, legislative military, take part. It is a mass accompanied by songs to pay honor to The carved image of the “Holy Christ”, where the faithful approach to give thanks and make their requests, before the Christ in carving of wood, who wears a perizoma, always decorated with embroidery, Inlays and ornaments of vivid and bright colors.

Descent from Santo Cristo towards the new Sanctuary

One week before August 6, at four in the afternoon, she is transferred from the image of the “Holy Christ” from the Basilica of the Holy Spirit to the facilities of the new Sanctuary, an activity in which the parishioners of La Grita and devotees Diocesan people accompany this journey and from the Sanctuary the “Holy Christ” will be waiting for the pilgrim people with open arms and with the arrival of the image to the Sanctuary, all activities will be developed in the extensive facilities that are already equipped.

Procession from the Sanctuary to the Basilica of the Holy Spirit


Crowds of people visit the saint

At the end of the Mass every year and after 2 hours the procession of the figure carved in wood begins from the Diocesan Sanctuary located in the area of La Cuarta to the center of La Grita. The procession involves thousands of pilgrims who walk along Avenida Francisco Cáceres, pass through the Jáuregui Military Lyceum, and continue down the street 2, to reach the Basilica of the Holy Spirit with the celebration of the final holy mass of the day. This tour takes approximately 6 hours for a distance of 3 kilometers, where the “Santo Cristo” receives various tributes during the tour.

Recommendations and guides

Various parish guides, civil and military authorities prepare a package of recommendations and suggestions to inform attendees and pilgrims who attend the different events. The various groups are intended to provide good care and support to all pilgrims.

La Grita, Sanctuary City, Tachira Jerusalem and Venezuela

For the multitude of faithful and the religious diversity of the region, where Catholics and other Christian beliefs worship the image of the “Holy Christ”, religious authorities consider La Grita as a shrine city Jerusalem Tachira and Venezuela.

Pilgrim’s Walk

With great vigilance, medical care and hydration throughout the journey, hundreds of pilgrims each year make a trek to La Grita to visit the “Holy Christ” in the framework of religious festivities in their honor as spiritual patron of Tachira and Venezuela. More than 20 points of medical care provided by the Bolivarian Government to attend the pilgrims on their route, for each of the 6 routes, reinforced the main days to ensure the peace of the attendees. From San Cristóbal, capital of the Andean state of Táchira to the city of La Grita, the participants walk 73 kilometers, adding to these the other walks of nearest towns with smaller routes and other cities of Venezuela with greater distance.

Due to weather contingencies, pilgrims are advised to wear light-colored, comfortable and light clothing, rubber shoes, cap, umbrellas and lanterns as useful implements. Throughout the mountain area and throughout the rest of the route security is guaranteed by the different security bodies that are deployed each year.

Devotion to the patron


                                     Santo Cristo de La Grita, patron of Tachira and Venezuela

       On August 4, 1574, the city of La Grita was founded, and in 1610, because of an earthquake, the Franciscan friars had to move to a field called Tadea. He was among them, a sculptor who distinguished himself more by his piety than by his artistic talent. His name was Fray Francisco. Terrified by the earthquake that in a few moments reduced the nascent population to dust, he offered to the sky, according to tradition, to make an image of the crucified, to render him special worship and consecrate the new city. Of course he set to work, took the ax and other tools and began to work on a trunk of cedar wood the divine image.

Soon a human figure was exhibited, but it did not have the characteristic guidelines of the dying Christ. Days and days passed, and Fray Francisco could not interpret that sublime expression. One afternoon after suspending his work, he put himself in prayer: a deep ecstasy seized him, and when he returned to himself, late in the night, he heard that in the room of his work he struck the chisels, and the scaler passed through the fibers of timber. He approached and something like a human figure wrapped in a gust of light, went out through the door, dazzling his eyes. He told his brothers and the first dawn of the day, after the morning prayer, they all went to the place where the image was and found it finished.

Friar Francis then wept with pleasure. In that divine face were the features that he had conceived and that he was able to express. That image is the “Holy Christ” of La Grita, whose portentous miracles would fill books if they were to be narrated and whose work is attributed in part to an angel.


                                        The passion of people becomes indescribable

Pilgrimage tourist routes

The Ministry of Popular Power for Tourism (Mintur), through the State Unit of the National Institute of Tourism (Inatur) Táchira, has a tourist information point in the sanctuary. In this way, devotees receive information about the attractions of Venezuela, which strengthens the practice of religious tourism.

 Currently, there are three tourist routes to pilgrimage before the 2Santo Cristo “de La Grita, recognized as Cultural Heritage of the Nation (2010), by President Hugo Chavez.

 Route 1 stretches for 80 kilometers and starts in San Cristobal, the capital of Tachira land. The pilgrim enjoys the breeze of Cordero, Mesa de Aura, La Ahuyamala, El Bembador and El Cobre, which show unforgettable mountain landscapes.

Route 2 begins in the municipality Michelena, 74 kilometers away, following the path of Las Rosas, El Zumbador and El Cobre.

 Route 3, from La Fría, comprises 48 kilometers characterized by the heat of the northern area of the entity.

Written by: Luis Augusto Gonzalez





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