The order according to Saint John

The order is possibly the most genuine characteristic of the Holy Week processiones in Cartagena and it was precisely the group of Saint John the Evangelist that imposed the order and the ‘penitential character’ on them.

Members of the Brotherhood of Saint John marching next to the military church of Santo Domingo in 1940.

It all started when, back in 1914, electrical energy was installed in the lighting of both the thrones and the lights of the penitents, all being connected through cables to the throne, and from this, to the terminals arranged in the streetlights or on the facades. This system required a certain order, because the penitent could not walk independently of the cable, but each one went as he wanted.

From the very moment of its founding as a group, back in 1926, Saint John of the Marraja brotherhood already drew attention for its seriousness and discipline when marching, people coming to call these founders, the gang, for their enthusiasm, youth and eagerness of overcoming. An order that was gradually improved year after year. First the synchronized departures marked by the shroud. Then the movement of all the penitents at the same pace. Long and always natural stride. And finally all the penintents stop at the same time.

Members of the Brotherhood marching through the Plaza de La Merced without cables in 1943

On a rainy morning on a Good Friday in the early 1940s, the Saint John Marrajo group had to unplug the lights for safety and marched maintaining the same order without the cables, earning the biggest ovations and demonstrating that it was possible to parade all to the in unison, establishing a new order in Cartagena’s Holy Week, unique in Spain.

Being Miguel Hernández Gómez, president of the Brotherhood (1942-1957), and later mayor of Cartagena (1949-1960), the brotherhoof of Saint John would reach the pinnacle of its fame, maintaining a rigorous order when marching and great discipline when they were standing. Around this time, taking advantage of the first light of dawn after “the meeting”, the cables were disconnected and marched with perfect synchronization to the church.

Members of the brotherhood carrying the float of Saint John on their shoulders

In 1959, two penitents of the brotherhood marched in the parade with two butane gas lanterns as evidence and it was in 1960 when the cables were definitively removed, appearing for the first time, the butane gas lights of the Saint John brotherhood, unique in Spain, and probably the world.

All this desire of self-improvement, counting on great processionists within the group, have been marking their own style when marching in a parade: majestic, elegant, disciplined, taking care of even the smallest detail, which is a real sacrifice for all those who are part of a group of penitents.

It’s also worth mentioning the ones carrying on their shoulders the image of Saint John. The entire brotherhood leaves at the same time: penitents, music and throne, at the same pace. An example of effort and penance, which makes the public who witness the procession unexpectedly participate applauding the march of Saint John.