We must go back to 1984 to date the origin of the Brotherhood of Los Penitentes del Santísimo Cristo of Vera Cruz with its headquarters in the Church of San Miguel Arcángel. In this year the first procession of the brotherhood took place. Charity, austerity and penitence define the brotherhood’s ideology, characterized by its marked social and service vocation.
During the first years, a representative number of penitents took part in the processions of other brotherhoods in Jerez de los Caballeros until the appropriate ecclesiastical permission was obtained to process on the night of Easter Monday. To do so, they rescued a crucifix that was restored by Manuel Caballo and baptized with the name of Cristo del Perdón.
It was founded in 1996 after its Rules and Statutes were approved by who was at that moment, first Archbishop of the Diocese of Mérida-Badajoz, Monsignor Antonio Montero Moreno. From then on, it would be called Brotherhood of Los Penitentes del Santísimo Cristo de la Vera Cruz (and the Parish of the municipality would cede to them the image of the same dedication which was in the Sacristy of the Church of San Miguel Arcángel – after having presided for centuries over the Hermitage of the same name – and which was restored by the sculptor Manuel Hernández León.
On 24th March 1996, this image was solemnly blessed and, since then, as it appears in the Statutes, it is officially carried in procession on the night of Easter Monday.
On the other hand, and as the most representative element of this brotherhood, mention should be made of the figure of the ‘empalaos’, who are brothers wearing shackles with chains on their bare feet and their torso is strung with a rope, carrying a wooden stake on their shoulders and wearing a crown of thorns.
The main idea was to found a penitential confraternity based on poverty and austerity as its most important social work. To this end, the penitents would wear a humble black tunic and a backward-facing mask without a hood, complementing their attire with a humble cincture of rope around the waist, as well as shackles and chains on their feet. Most of the penitents would carry heavy crosses and others would be the ‘empalaos’, who in addition to wearing shackles with chains on their bare feet and their torso strung with a rope, would carry a wooden cross on their shoulders and wear a crown of thorns.
Charity, austerity and penitence define the brotherhood’s ideology, characterized by its marked social and service vocation.
Santísimo Cristo de la Vera Cruz
No specific date can be given as to its origins. Some claim that it is a Gothic carving from the 15th century by an unknown author. On the other hand, others maintain that it was made in 1520 and a third testimony, its restorer, Manuel Hernández León, dates it towards the end of the 16th or beginning of the 17th century, attributing it to the sculptors Antón Sánchez or to Roque Balduque.
Events and celebrations
This brotherhood officially makes an official procession in the form of Vía Crucis on the night of Easter Monday, bringing together, prayer and contemplation of the mystery of the Cross.
The itinerary is modified every year, with the aim of taking the Christ of Vera Cruz through as many streets as possible and bringing it closer to all the people of Jerez. It is worth mentioning that, during the Vía Crucis, the image of the Christ of Vera Cruz is carried on simple stretchers on the shoulders of the penitents, which are not placed on the ground until the end of the route.
Currently, the Saint Christ of Vera Cruz can be visited in the Hermitage of La Venerable Madre Isabel de la Cruz.
The House of the Brotherhood is located in the spaces of the House of the Church Cecilia de Arteaga, being blessed on the 22nd of December 2007.
 Christ of Forgiveness
 Way of the Cross or Stations of the Cross