One of the most moving images processioned during the Lenten season is the image of a seated Christ, right after he was scourged, crowned and cloaked. It is a depiction of him right after Pilate brought Jesus out and presented him before the crowd with the words, "Behold the Man!" (Ecce Homo in Latin).
This image of Senor de la Paciencia (or Paciencia, as simply known in the Philippines) is just one of the many variations of the Ecce Homo representation. Some tableaus represent the entire scene -- with Pilate and his soldiers, a bound and bleeding Jesus in his crown and cloak, and a crowd led by priests.
Others present only the figure of a bound Jesus, either with the cloak and crown. Spanish and Latin American countries have a longer appellation for this seated Christ: El Cristo de la Humildad y Paciencia (Christ of Humility and Patience).
On a low stone seat an exhausted Jesus sits bound and crowned with thorns, wearing a loin cloth, a rope yoke, and a red or purple cloak and holding a reed scepter.In Mexico, people call these santos El Dios or Señor de la Peña ("The God of Suffering").
Philippine images conform closely to this depiction of the Paciencia: local santos show the tired, sad Jesus seated with his hands on his chin, in deep contemplation of his inevitable fate that is forthcoming. His hands are often bound together, but there are representations that show him with hands free, with one hand holding a reed scepter as a symbol of mockery.
There are no no references in any of the gospels that has Jesus seated at any time after the crowning with thorns, but the seated Jesus may derive from a misreading of John 19:13, where Pilate once again takes Jesus out in front of the crowd and "he sits down on the judgment seat" (Pilatus ergo cum audisset hos sermones adduxit foras Iesum et sedit pro tribunali).
Shown here is a selection of Paciencia images--some antiques, some contemporary, from different parts of the Philippines.
(Photos taken by Dr. Raymund Feliciano and entrusted to the author)