Christian Gets Nailed to Cross for 35th Time

He was one of 10 Filipinos crucified in annual ritual
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 29, 2024 7:31 AM CDT
Christian Gets Nailed to Cross for 35th Time
Ruben Enaje is seen on the cross during a reenactment of Jesus Christ's sufferings as part of Good Friday rituals in San Pedro Cutud, north of Manila, Philippines, Friday, March 29, 2024.   (AP Photo/Gerard V. Carreon)

A Filipino villager has been nailed to a wooden cross for the 35th time to reenact Jesus Christ's suffering in a brutal Good Friday tradition he said he would devote to praying for peace in Ukraine, Gaza, and the disputed South China Sea. Reuters reports that thousands of people, including foreign tourists, looked on in San Pedro Cutud village as three people, including 63-year-old carpenter and sign painter Ruben Anaje, were nailed to crosses. Seven other men were crucified in other villages. The real-life crucifixions have long been an annual religious spectacle in rural communities in Pampanga province, north of Manila. The gory ritual resumed last year after a three-year pause due to the pandemic.

Enaje told the AP Thursday night that that he has considered ending his annual religious penitence due to his age, but said he could not turn down requests from villagers for him to pray for sick relatives and all other kinds of maladies. The need for prayers has also deepened in an alarming period of wars and conflicts worldwide, he said. "If these wars worsen and spread, more people, especially the young and old, would be affected. These are innocent people who have totally nothing to do with these wars," Enaje said. He said he would also seek relief for people in southern Philippine provinces, which have been hit recently by flooding and earthquakes.

In the 1980s, Enaje survived nearly unscathed when he accidentally fell from a three-story building, prompting him to undergo the crucifixion as thanksgiving for what he considered a miracle. He extended the ritual after loved ones recovered from serious illnesses, one after another, and he landed more carpentry and sign-painting job contracts. Enaje and other religious devotees, wearing thorny crowns of twigs, carried heavy wooden crosses on their backs for more than a more than half a mile under the hot sun Friday. Other penitents walked barefoot through village streets and beat their bare backs with sharp bamboo sticks and pieces of wood. Church leaders in the Philippines, the largest Catholic nation in Asia, have frowned on the crucifixions and self-flagellations.

(More Good Friday stories.)

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