It is said that in times of Charles III a serious epidemic of plague struck the city and a great many people died. Those who did survive where so weak that it was almost impossible for them to hold the processions to implore for the end of the epidemic. However, one of the places where the disease had struck with less virulence was the prison and the prisoners, knowing what was happening outside the walls that held them captive, asked the prison governor for permission carry in procession the image of Christ named Nuestro Padre Jesús "El Rico" . When the authorities refused, based on the well-founded fear that the prisoners would take advantage of the occasion to escape, these decided to rebel and fulfil their promise to carry out the procession as requested. When the procession had finished all of the prisoners returned as promised, except one, who came back the next day with a sculpture of the head of St. John the Baptist Beheaded, which he placed beside the bed of a cellmate, who was ill. The prisoner, just like the rest of the population of Malaga, recovered a few days later. The King, moved by the generous action of the prisoners issued a Decree by which, every year during the procession of Jesus el Rico, a prisoner would be set free. This tradition has been conserved to our days and HM King Juan Carlos I continues to sign the Pardon each year, the freed prisoner accompanying “El Rico” in its procession through the streets of the city, following a ceremony at Government Offices in which the Pardon is read and, more importantly, the prisoner receives the blessing of Our Father Jesus “El Rico” , for which purpose the sculpture’s right arm is articulated.

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