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Philippines: Devotee nailed to cross for 32nd time in Good Friday crucifixion re-enactment

The Catholic Church in the Philippines tolerates the ritual but says it does not support such gory displays of devotion, describing them as a “misinterpretation of faith”.

world Updated: Mar 30, 2018 19:22 IST
Reuters
Reuters
Reuters, Cutud, Philippines
Good Friday,Philippines,Roman Catholic
Ruben Enaje, 58, who is portraying Jesus Christ for the 32nd time, grimaces in pain after being nailed on a wooden cross during a Good Friday crucifixion re-enactment in Cutud village, Pampanga province, north of Manila, Philippines on March 30.(REUTERS)

A Philippine man who has been nailed to a cross every Easter for the past 32 years in a Good Friday re-enactment of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion says he no longer feels any pain from his wounds.

Ruben Enaje, 58, again portrayed Christ on Friday in the traditional religious rite in Cutud village, about 76 km (47 miles) from the capital Manila.

Ruben Enaje (C), 58, who is portraying Jesus Christ for the 32nd time, is seen nailed on a wooden cross during a Good Friday crucifixion re-enactment in Cutud village, Pampanga province, north of Manila, Philippines on March 30. (REUTERS)

“In the past, I went home injured and limping, but this year I feel so great,” Enaje said after the ritual held under a sweltering sun.

He said he believed his strong Catholic faith helped him avoid pain.

“I feel like he is telling me ‘go ahead, keep it up’,” he said, referring to God.

Easter is a festival marking the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ.

About 80 percent of the 105 million people in the Philippines, a former Spanish colony, are Catholic.

Enaje said he felt strong enough to perform in two or three more crucifixions, until he turns 60.

Enaje was among three devotees nailed to wooden crosses in the village on Friday, including a woman taking part for the seventh time.

Mary Jane Sazon, 39, grimaces in pain after she was nailed on a wooden cross for the 7th time, during a Good Friday crucifixion re-enactment in Cutud village, Pampanga province, north of Manila, Philippines on March 30. (REUTERS)

Actors wearing Roman soldier costumes attached the devotees to crosses by hammering two-inch nails soaked in alcohol through their hands and feet and hoisted them up in a field packed with domestic and foreign tourists.

The Catholic Church in the Philippines tolerates the ritual but says it does not support such gory displays of devotion, describing them as a “misinterpretation of faith”.

A reenactment of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ during Good Friday celebrations ahead of Easter in the village of Cutud near San Fernando, north of Manila on March 30. (AFP Photo)

Many Catholics in the Philippines perform religious acts of penance during the Holy Week at Easter as a form of worship and supplication.

Some believe penance cleanses sins, cures illnesses and even leads to wishes coming true.

First Published: Mar 30, 2018 19:22 IST