Men Crucify Themselves in Philippines

It's a Good Friday tradition

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Apr 18, 2014 7:48 AM CDT

(Newser) – It's Good Friday, which means it's time for the Philippines' annual bloody ritual: Devotees in northern villages had themselves nailed to wooded crosses to re-enact the crucifixion of Jesus Christ as thousands of local and foreign spectators watched. Church leaders and health officials in Asia's largest Roman Catholic nation have spoken against the practice, which mixes Roman Catholic devotion with folk belief, but the annual rites continue to draw participants and huge crowds, particularly in northern Pampanga province.

Devotees undergo the crucifixions in the belief that such extreme sacrifices are a way to atone for their sins, attain miracle cures for illnesses, or give thanks to God. Sign painter Ruben Enaje, 53, had himself nailed to a cross at a dusty mound in Pampanga's San Pedro Cutud village for the 28th year. Men dressed as Roman soldiers hammered stainless steel nails into his palms and feet, as a crowd of onlookers stood with cameras ready to capture his and other penitents' agony. Lasse Spang Olsen, a 48-year-old filmmaker from Denmark, also had himself nailed to a cross, joining Enaje and eight other Filipino devotees. He grimaced in pain as nails pierced his hands and feet. After being helped down from the cross, he said of his experience: "Fantastic, you should try it."

A Filipino devotee is nailed to a cross to re-enact the crucifixion of Jesus Christ in Santa Lucia village, Pampanga province, northern Philippines on Friday, April 18, 2014.
A Filipino devotee is nailed to a cross to re-enact the crucifixion of Jesus Christ in Santa Lucia village, Pampanga province, northern Philippines on Friday, April 18, 2014.   (Aaron Favila)
A Filipino devotee who was nailed to the cross is carried by medical personnel after blood comes out of his wounds during a re-enactment of  the crucifixion of Jesus Christ in San Pedro Cutud village, Pampanga province, northern Philippines on Friday, April 18, 2014.
A Filipino devotee who was nailed to the cross is carried by medical personnel after blood comes out of his wounds during a re-enactment of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ in San Pedro Cutud village,...   (Aaron Favila)
A Filipino devotee who was nailed to a cross is lifted as they try to re-enact the crucifixion of Jesus Christ in San Juan village, Pampanga province, northern Philippines on Friday, April 18, 2014.
A Filipino devotee who was nailed to a cross is lifted as they try to re-enact the crucifixion of Jesus Christ in San Juan village, Pampanga province, northern Philippines on Friday, April 18, 2014.   (Aaron Favila)
Filipino devotee Ruben Enaje, center, stays nailed to a cross with two actors during a play to re-enact the crucifixion of Jesus Christ in San Pedro Cutud village, Pampanga province, northern Philippines on Friday, April 18, 2014.
Filipino devotee Ruben Enaje, center, stays nailed to a cross with two actors during a play to re-enact the crucifixion of Jesus Christ in San Pedro Cutud village, Pampanga province, northern Philippines...   (Aaron Favila)
Danish national Lasse Spang Olsen, a 48-year-old filmmaker, grimaces as he is nailed to a cross to re-enact the crucifixion of Jesus Christ in San Juan village, Pampanga province, northern Philippines on Friday, April 18, 2014.
Danish national Lasse Spang Olsen, a 48-year-old filmmaker, grimaces as he is nailed to a cross to re-enact the crucifixion of Jesus Christ in San Juan village, Pampanga province, northern Philippines...   (Aaron Favila)
Spectators watch as Filipino devotee Ruben Enaje, center, stays nailed to a cross with two actors during a play  to re-enact the crucifixion of Jesus Christ in San Pedro Cutud village, Pampanga province, northern Philippines on Friday, April 18, 2014.
Spectators watch as Filipino devotee Ruben Enaje, center, stays nailed to a cross with two actors during a play to re-enact the crucifixion of Jesus Christ in San Pedro Cutud village, Pampanga province,...   (Aaron Favila)
A Filipino devotee grimaces as he is nailed to a cross to re-enact the crucifixion of Jesus Christ in Santa Lucia village, Pampanga province, northern Philippines on Friday, April 18, 2014.
A Filipino devotee grimaces as he is nailed to a cross to re-enact the crucifixion of Jesus Christ in Santa Lucia village, Pampanga province, northern Philippines on Friday, April 18, 2014.   (Aaron Favila)
A Filipino Catholic devotee carries a wooden cross as a form of penitence on Good Friday, April 18, 2014, at Kapitangan village, Bulacan province, north of Manila, Philippines.
A Filipino Catholic devotee carries a wooden cross as a form of penitence on Good Friday, April 18, 2014, at Kapitangan village, Bulacan province, north of Manila, Philippines.   (AP Photo/ Alecs Ongcal)
Filipino devotee, Precy Valencia, gets herself nailed to the cross during the reenactment of Jesus Christ crucifixion on Good Friday, April 18, 2014 at Kapitangan village, Bulacan province north of Manila, Philippines.
Filipino devotee, Precy Valencia, gets herself nailed to the cross during the reenactment of Jesus Christ crucifixion on Good Friday, April 18, 2014 at Kapitangan village, Bulacan province north of Manila,...   (AP Photo/Alecs Ongcal)
Filipino devotee Ruben Enaje shouts in pain as he stays nailed to a cross to re-enact the crucifixion of Jesus Christ in San Pedro Cutud village, Pampanga province, northern Philippines on Friday, April 18, 2014.
Filipino devotee Ruben Enaje shouts in pain as he stays nailed to a cross to re-enact the crucifixion of Jesus Christ in San Pedro Cutud village, Pampanga province, northern Philippines on Friday, April...   (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
Filipino devotee Ruben Enaje goes down from the cross after being nailed to it to re-enact the crucifixion of Jesus Christ in San Pedro Cutud village, Pampanga province, northern Philippines on Friday, April 18, 2014.
Filipino devotee Ruben Enaje goes down from the cross after being nailed to it to re-enact the crucifixion of Jesus Christ in San Pedro Cutud village, Pampanga province, northern Philippines on Friday,...   (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
Filipino devotee Ruben Enaje shouts in pain as he is nailed to a cross to re-enact the crucifixion of Jesus Christ in San Pedro Cutud village, Pampanga province, northern Philippines on Friday, April 18, 2014.
Filipino devotee Ruben Enaje shouts in pain as he is nailed to a cross to re-enact the crucifixion of Jesus Christ in San Pedro Cutud village, Pampanga province, northern Philippines on Friday, April...   (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
Spectators take pictures of a devotee as he is nailed to a cross during the re-enactment of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ in San Juan village, Pampanga province, northern Philippines on Friday, April 18, 2014.
Spectators take pictures of a devotee as he is nailed to a cross during the re-enactment of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ in San Juan village, Pampanga province, northern Philippines on Friday, April...   (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
A Filipino devotee that is nailed to a cross reacts as actors dressed as Roman soldiers lift him as they re-enact the crucifixion of Jesus Christ in San Pedro Cutud village, Pampanga province, northern Philippines on Friday, April 18, 2014.
A Filipino devotee that is nailed to a cross reacts as actors dressed as Roman soldiers lift him as they re-enact the crucifixion of Jesus Christ in San Pedro Cutud village, Pampanga province, northern...   (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
A Filipino devotee with his feet nailed to the cross is lifted as they try to re-enact the crucifixion of Jesus Christ in San Juan village, Pampanga province, northern Philippines on Friday, April 18, 2014.
A Filipino devotee with his feet nailed to the cross is lifted as they try to re-enact the crucifixion of Jesus Christ in San Juan village, Pampanga province, northern Philippines on Friday, April 18,...   (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
Danish national Lasse Spang Olsen, a 48-year-old filmmaker, is carried on a stretcher by medical personnel after nailed to a cross to re-enact the crucifixion of Jesus Christ in San Pedro Cutud village, Pampanga province, northern Philippines on Friday, April 18, 2014.
Danish national Lasse Spang Olsen, a 48-year-old filmmaker, is carried on a stretcher by medical personnel after nailed to a cross to re-enact the crucifixion of Jesus Christ in San Pedro Cutud village,...   (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
Danish national Lasse Spang Olsen, a 48-year-old filmmaker, stays nailed to a cross to re-enact the crucifixion of Jesus Christ in San Pedro Cutud village, Pampanga province, northern Philippines on Friday, April 18, 2014.
Danish national Lasse Spang Olsen, a 48-year-old filmmaker, stays nailed to a cross to re-enact the crucifixion of Jesus Christ in San Pedro Cutud village, Pampanga province, northern Philippines on Friday,...   (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
« Prev« Prev | Next »Next » Slideshow
My TakeCLICK BELOW TO VOTE
11%
3%
8%
4%
4%
69%
To report an error on this story, notify our editors.

NEWS FROM OUR PARTNERS
Other Sites We Like:   The Street   |   MSN Living   |   PopSugar Tech   |   RealClear   |   24/7 Wall St.   |   Biography   |   Barstool Sports   |   OK!