History of the Holy Christ of Cleans and its enigma

History of the Holy Christ of Cleans and its enigma

In the town of Limpias , autonomous community of Cantabria, there is a church dedicated to the apostle Peter, which houses an image of the Christ of Agony, known as the Santo Cristo de Limpias .

It is estimated that more than a hundred years ago, surprising manifestations of this image were revealed on this route of the Camino de Santiago.

If you want to know a little more about this extraordinary story, be sure to read this article.

Holy Christ of Cleans

The Holy Christ of Cleans is a figure that represents Jesus in his last minutes of life on the cross.

The image has a painful expression, with open eyes looking up at the sky and wearing the crown of thorns on its head. Those who have seen the sculpture agree that it is very realistic and its eyes cause great impact for that reason.

The face of the carving has an expression that is difficult to describe because it is a special beauty, its gesture or expression is different from the position where it is seen, its gaze towards the sky, framed in a sorrowful face, but also in contemplation and prayer .

The cross is two meters and thirty centimeters high and the image of Jesus Christ is one meter and eighty centimeters.

The Christ of Cleans has at his sides the Virgin of Sorrows and the apostle John the Evangelist.

Connoisseurs of the matter indicate that this figure is an Andalusian carving, which was originally located in a Franciscan church in Cádiz, around 1700.

However, it collapsed due to flooding and the sculpture was installed in a private chapel owned by Don Diego de la Piedra, a knight of the Order of Santiago.

Don Diego specifies in his will that both the image of Christ and that of the Virgin and John the Evangelist be transferred to the parish of the town where he was born, in addition to paying the construction costs of the main altarpiece.

“I order the Parish of San Pedro de Limpias to be covered with sand, paying for its main altarpiece and its gilding, placing three images on it: that of Our Redeemer dying on the Cross, that of His Blessed Mother and that of the Evangelist Saint John”

That is why when Don Diego de la Piedra died in 1755, the sculptures were installed in the city of Limpias, in the parish church of San Pedro.

The church is popularly known as the Sanctuary of the Christ of the Agony, due to the presence of the image.

manifestations of the image

Manifestations and prodigies are attributed to this image, long before reaching Limpias. On many occasions he made a pilgrimage to different churches in Cadiz, in times of need and emergencies.

One of the oldest stories says that he stopped the waters during a tidal wave, when they reached his feet.

The stories say that a tidal wave endangered the city of Cadiz, fearful and full of faith, the Christians took out the most revered images of this city in procession.

They say that only when he was before them the image of the Holy Christ of the Agony, they stopped and turned back.

The grateful people before that miracle requested that the Holy Christ be placed in one of the temples of Cádiz to be venerated.

It is said that the manifestations of the image of the Christ of the Agony began around 1914 and remained silent until 1919, when they decided to go public, continuing for a few more years.

Around August 1914, the Vincentian priest Antonio López went to place some light installations on the main altar of the church of San Pedro.

During his work in a space well lit by the sun and half a meter from the image, it was in perfect condition and without signs of anything out of the ordinary.

But after a couple of hours of hustling, the father was able to notice how the Christ’s eyes were closed. He was shocking, so much so that he lost his balance and did not hold onto the scaffolding.

“I couldn’t believe my eyes, I began to feel that my strength was lacking; I lost my balance, passed out and fell from the scaffolding ladder to the ground, suffering a great blow.

Upon regaining consciousness I was able to confirm from where I was that the eyes of the image of the crucifix remained closed…”

It is one of the affirmations registered by the priest in his writings, which remained very well kept.

He says it was a big blow, but from where he was he could see the image and he still kept his eyes closed.

He commented to the sacristan and he told him that on several occasions he had been told the same thing about the image of Christ.

“I quickly left the church telling the fact to my community.

Minutes after leaving the church, I met the sacristan who was preparing to ring the bells for the Angelus.

Seeing me so agitated, he asked me if something was wrong. I told him everything that happened, which did not surprise him since he had already heard that the Holy Christ had closed his eyes on more than one occasion.

The priest chose to review the sculpture very carefully, to see if it had been built with that characteristic, the possibility of opening and closing the eyes, but no.

I check again and again that when pressing them strongly they did not make any movement, because it was necessary to check it.

On the contrary, he realized that his eyes were fixed and made of glass. He communicated the fact to his superior, to document it, but it was agreed to keep it a secret.

Father Vincentian wrote the entire story, narrated everything that happened, always maintaining prudence, which was one of the indications of his spiritual director.

On March 16, 1920, almost a year after the many manifestations and miracles since 1919, this writing was made public.

The demonstrations that were made public occurred from 1919, specifically during the Lenten season.

During this time, many parishioners claimed to see Santo Cristo de Limpias bleed, sweat, turn pale and close his eyes. He conveyed an incredible sense of being alive.

On March 30 of that year during the mass of Father Agatángelo and two more priests confessing, people began to exclaim that the Holy Christ moved his eyes, bled and sweated.

A twelve-year-old girl approached the confessional and told the priest that the sculpture of the Holy Christ had its eyes closed, really and as the priest assured, he thought that the girl had imagined it and continued with his work.

However, other children approached indicating the same event, so he waited for the celebrating priest to finish the homily and approached to indicate what was happening.

The priests did not find anything unusual in the image, but in the act the faithful who were in the congregation raised voices indicating that they observe the crucifix.

The attendees confirmed what the children had told, full of enthusiasm, impression and surprise, the people present cried, shouted, prayed and praised God for his great mercy and for that extraordinary demonstration.

The temple was evacuated and the image revised, indeed the fingers of the priest when touching the image became moist.

Many people affirm that they are very sure of what they saw and that they will not hesitate to swear to whoever asks them.

The next demonstration was in April of the same year, exactly on the 13th, a Palm Sunday, when two personalities from the city of Limpias came to verify the veracity of that story that was going around the streets.

It was when they saw that the image of Christ moved its eyes and mouth, presumably the impression it caused to the men who asked for mercy in the face of their disbelief.

A group of nuns praying the rosary could see the same thing a week later.

As of April 24, many of these exhibitions and demonstrations occurred almost daily and the church dedicated to San Pedro did not stop receiving visitors who wanted to see the extraordinary event.

The priest of the town, Baron Von Kleist, reported that many parishioners said that Jesus Christ had looked at them, each one perceived it in different ways, some reported that with subtlety, others with sadness and others assured that he had a scrutinizing and penetrating look.

Others reported that it was not only his gaze that changed, the image sweated, bled and cried.

The truth is that at the end of March 1919, the rumors of the extraordinary events of Limpias spread through many places, people claimed that the beautiful carving of the Christ of the Agony seemed to come to life, move its eyes, turn pale, bleed and sweat .

The name of the small town of Limpias became famous, many visitors walked its streets, on pilgrimages from all over the world and there were many manifestations of the Holy Christ of Limpias, who changed his gestures and seemed to come to life.

The church that is located in the passage from Lourdes to Compostela, on the famous Camino a Santiago. he received hundreds of parishioners who came from many places to see him.

Many testimonies were collected, it is estimated that about nine thousand, but unfortunately a large amount was lost during the times of the Spanish civil war.

These manifestations became so popular and important worldwide that in 1921 the number of visitors and pilgrimages to see the Christ of the Agony in Limpias far exceeded the pilgrimages to Lourdes and Rome.

People from all over the world, believers, agnostics and atheists, kings, bishops, cardinals, politicians, professionals, soldiers, merchants, all were called by this sublime and strange phenomenon.

Some years later, the manifestations of the Christ ceased completely.

Since 1924 no more extraordinary events of this type were recorded, however the cures and conversions did not stop.

The Spanish civil war and the passing of the years reduced the massive influx of pilgrims from earlier times, but never ended the devotion that continues in many parts of the world.

The beautiful sanctuary of Santo Cristo de Limpias, which is currently run by the Paul Fathers, still welcomes hundreds of parishioners from all over the world, in visits full of tranquility and calm, but which are always constant.

The faith for the Holy Christ is still alive in Limpias and the whole world, because the spirit and message of these manifestations is still alive for those who have faith.

Church of San Pedro in Limpias

The Church of San Pedro Apóstol, also known as the Sanctuary of the Christ of Agony, is located in the town of Limpias, in Cantabria, Spain.

Specifically, Rucoba de Limpias neighborhood, highway N-629, in the section between Colindres and Ampuero.

This temple was built in the 17th century by Francisco de Hazas and has a late Gothic and Renaissance style, to which a Baroque façade was added, around 1664.

The Church of San Pedro Apóstol is an Asset of Cultural Interest, which consists of a legal figure for the protection and safeguarding of the historical heritage of Spain. It was declared as such in 1983.

Its interior part is divided into three naves, of the same height, the central part being a little wider than the other two. It is decorated with altarpieces that represent religious images and that date from the 16th to the 18th century.

Also some important sculptures such as:

  • Archdeacon Fernando de Palacio.
  • The tomb of General Don Antonio Cirilo del Rivero.

In its main altarpiece, there is an image of the Holy Christ of the Agony, known as the Christ of Cleans, almost two meters high, highly venerated in Cantabria and estimated to be from 1777.

Pilgrimages and worldwide popularity

Pilgrimages from all over the world began to the city of Limpias.

Many Spanish newspapers and those of other nations, reviewed the stories and their offices were packed with stories and detailed testimonies about the many demonstrations and events in Limpias.

In 1921 the number of pilgrims grew more and more and the number of foreign visitors in Limpias was considerably higher than those who attended the Sanctuary of Lourdes.

Many witnessed, some under oath, seeing how the Holy Christ of Cleans seemed to come to life, among these witnesses are members of different religious congregations, priests, doctors, lawyers, educators, officials, merchants, who were believers and even atheists.

Devotion in Cuba

Don Manuel Ruiz y Rodríguez, was Bishop of Cuba. After a visit to Rome, he went to Limpias to visit the Church of San Pedro.

He was the first bishop to witness the manifestations of the Holy Christ and on his way back to his nation he wrote a pastoral letter, addressed to the members of his diocese, where he recounted and explained in detail everything related to the image of Jesus crucified that was found in Limpias.

He described how his eyes moved from side to side and his face took on a different expression, as if in agony.

From here on, the devotion in Cuba to the Cristo de Limpias is very special and generalized, establishing its own sanctuary of the Cristo de Limpias, in Havana.

Around 1937, the Crusade of Christ of Cleans was founded in that same city, dedicated to world peace and the conversion of all sinners.

Both intentions were the main requests of the rosary that was prayed daily at seven at night and every July 16 were the festivities in honor of the image.


Many cases of miraculous healings thanks to the Christ of Clean, were published. In 1920 many doctors certified cures, it is estimated that more than 1000 cases.

Some in the same city of Limpias and other cases that occurred in the cities of origin when the parishioners returned to their homes.

Other patients indicated that they had had contact with objects that for some reason touched the image of Cristo de Limpias.

Prayers to the Christ of Cleans

There are many people devoted to Santo Cristo de Limpias, even though his cult usually occurs mainly in Spain and Cuba.

It is easy to imagine that there are many prayers to ask for his favor, be it for health, protection, etc.


Before praying, it is important to take a quiet moment, in a place where you will not be interrupted.

Many times people have not considered the importance of those moments of peace, meditation and prayer, they are minutes that the body, mind and spirit calm down and focus, it is a way of educating them and opening themselves to receive good energies and benefits that have nothing to do with the material.

In this case, before praying to the Holy Christ, think about him a lot, visualize the image of Jesus Christ with his arms open, waiting for his soul to arrive and all that he wants to say and deliver.

Take advantage of those moments of meditation, show Jesus your repentant soul for your mistakes and sins, make a confession and say everything that worries you. Cleanse his heart, feel at peace.

It is important for you to remember that it is essential for our spiritual life not only to pray daily, but also to share the Eucharist with the Lord.

Likewise, it is extremely important to take communion whenever possible, to be interested in the teachings of the Church and to be present at mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation.

But everything is complemented by our treatment of others, because the commitment to Christ is to put into practice his teachings and commandments. Remember that he said, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Those who have children, it is important that you take the time to teach them to love God above all things and to treat those around you with respect, it is part of the path to happiness.

Being an apostle of Jesus is helping others, it is emphasizing the importance of the sacraments, recommending that those who have not received baptism, communion or confirmation do so.

It is to show each of those around you and know how important it is to take care of our soul and always have it prepared.

To make a request

Lord Jesus Christ, for all the pain you felt in your last days of life on earth, I humbly come before you to beg for mercy.

For your pain in the sore shoulder where you carried the heavy cross, in your back bruised by the whipping, in your wounded and injured feet and hands, in your wound in the side and on your face when they placed the crown of thorns on you I ask you for all those who suffer, those who need health and peace.

For the blood you shed to save us, for the immense pain felt by the Blessed Virgin Mary your mother at the foot of the cross, I ask parts of the world for suffering and give them the peace, salvation and grace that I ask of you today. : (say the request)

I also ask you for all those who meditate and pray for your Passion and Death, Lord Jesus Christ and follow you with the cross, give them your blessing and your guidance. Amen.

To the Christ of Clean for protection

Our Lord Jesus Christ, Redeemer of the world, example of love and sacrifice, who came into the world to save us.

Please look at me, I am a sinner and I am repentant, so that, like the good thief by your side on the cross, I can reach Paradise.

Venerable and glorious Christ of Cleans, prince of the angels, lord of the prophets and patriarchs, crown of the martyrs, apostles and confessors, glory of the seraphim and cherubim, deliver us from sin and remove evil from us.

Entrust our souls to God the Father Almighty, so that he may look upon us with mercy, free us from temptation and make us worthy of reaching your promises and the adventures of heaven. Amen.

To health

Holy Christ of Cleans, you who felt so much pain when being crucified, who gave your life to protect and save us.

I implore you to grant me the shelter and protection that only you can give me, deliver me from all illness and keep me from everything that can harm me.

I beg you that your powerful arm be my shield, that your love be the relief of what grieves me, makes me suffer and keeps me restless.

Help me to be healthy, to heal me from the ailments that afflict me, I know you are generous and kind, that’s why I ask you to heal me.

Blessed be your name always and yours be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

for desperate cases

Lord Jesus Christ, who suffered so much pain when nailed to the Cross, for the precious and powerful blood that you shed for us and for the immense sorrow of your holy mother at your feet on the cross, please look at me with mercy and forgive my sins.

I come before you to beg you, I am desperate, reach me with your great generosity the favor I need, Holy Christ of Cleans, help me in this desperate situation: (Make the request).

I beg you, do not take your eyes off me and help me to solve these difficulties that I am going through and that are tormenting me right now.

My Lord, miraculous Holy Christ of Cleans come to my aid, give me serenity and calm, give me your protection, help and heavenly blessings, grant me your graces and favors.

I ask you not to stop assisting me in the request that with immense faith and confidence I place today at your feet.

Praised be always for your Holy Passion and Holy Death Christ!

Praised be today and always redeemer of the world!

Praise be to the risen Jesus Christ!

Praised be Holy Christ Miracle of Clean! Amen.

This prayer must be accompanied by three Our Fathers, three Hail Marys and three Glories.

Prayer to the Christ of the Agony

Almighty God, Heavenly Father and Lord of virtues!

You who placed Calvary, the altar of your sacrifice, gave the brilliant proof of love and dedication to human beings.

You extended your arms and feet on the wood of the Cross, you allowed the cold and hard nails to pierce your flesh and you gave your last breath there.

I beg you, Lord, give me the grace to feel your torments and mourn the sins that caused this painful and disastrous death, so that my whole being and my heart wrapped in the fire of your love, may be worthy of your acceptance and may participate in your company in the Glory of God the Father. Amen.

The prayer ends with three Our Fathers, Hail Marys and Glory Be as a sign of respect for the Holy Christ of the Agony and the Holy Trinity.

To the Christ of the Agony of Clean for health

Lord Jesus Son of the Father, you who are the savior of the world, you who offered your life on the cross, you who made the greatest sacrifice to redeem mankind.

I recognize that you are my only hope, the one who never disappoints us, today I ask for mercy for us, look at us with mercy and deliver us from evil.

I beg you by the merits of your passion and agony on the Cross, defeat this disease that has spread throughout the world.

We ask that with your powerful hand you protect, care for and heal the sick at risk, we beg you for children, pregnant women and the elderly, as well as all those who may be in serious danger.

Give us your light and your guide, protect those who are working, health personnel, doctors, nurses, cleaning services and those who work for the community.

Look at us with eyes of mercy and save us with your unconditional love.

We beg you through the intercession of your Mother the Blessed Virgin Mary, who prays for all of us sinners and leads us into your presence.

Holy Christ of the Agony, our lord and savior, you who live and queen, forever and ever. Amen

Novena to the Most Holy Christ of the Agony of Cleans

There is a novena that is carried out as its name indicates for nine days addressed to the Holy Christ of the Agony, to reach his mercy and request his blessing.

It begins with the act of contrition, the prayer that corresponds to the day and the seven words that are accompanied each with an Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory.

the seven words
  1. “Forgive them, Lord, they do not know what they are doing.”
  2. “Today you will be with me in Paradise.”
  3. Mother: “There is your son”, Son: “There is your Mother”.
  4. “My God, my God! Why have you abandoned me?”
  5. “I’m thirsty”.
  6. “It’s all over.”
  7.  “Into your hands, Lord, I commend my spirit.”

Subsequently, a brief meditation and a creed are made to the Holy Christ of the Agony.

At this moment is when the requests are made, each one must ask for the grace that they wish to obtain.

Saint John is offered an Our Father and the Lady of Sorrows, a Hail.

The Hymn to the Agonizing Jesus is sung, the antiphon and the final prayer are recited.

Final prayer of the novena to the Christ of Cleans

Lord, we beg you to cast your eyes on this family, for which Our Lord Jesus Christ did not hesitate to surrender himself into the hands of the wicked and suffer the torment of the Cross.

That with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen.

Ave Maria Purisima, conceived without sin. In the name of the Father, and of the son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. 

The initial prayer, the seven words, the antiphon and the final prayer are the same for each day, changing only the prayer that corresponds specifically to the day.

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