Infant of Atocha

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The Infant of Atocha

The Child or Infant of Atocha, also known as Nino de Atocha, is an apparition of Jesus Christ who is popular in Spain as well as Central and South America, where He is called on for help with court and legal matters; cases of false imprisonment, abduction and kidnapping; and to succor those who are in jail. Some devotees also petition Him for protection against rape and for the safety of travellers. In Cuban Santeria, the Infant of Atocha is associated with the orisha Eleggua, and hence with the Seven African Powers.

The Infant of Atocha first manifested in Atocha, Spain when the Islamic Moors were holding many Christians captive. The imprisoned Christians were held without adequate food and water, and a small child began to appear with provisions of food and water to distribute to the captives. This Child of Atocha was seen as an answer to the desperate prayers of the faithful for the preservation of their beloved friends and family in prison.

Depicted as a seated child who holds the basket and staff of a pilgrim, and wearing the sea shell emblem of one who has undertaken a journey to the Holy Land, the Infant of Atocha is usually shown wearing a hat and robes such as would have been common in medieval Spain.

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