San Pedro Cutud, Philippines: Three Men Nailed To Crosses In Bizarre Easter Rites: UPDATED

22 Apr

By BULLIT MARQUEZ, Associated Press Bullit Marquez, Associated Press :

SAN PEDRO CUTUD, Philippines – Several Filipinos were nailed to wooden

crosses Friday to reenact Jesus Christ’s suffering in a bizarre annual rite that has been rejected by Catholic church leaders but draws thousands of tourists on Good Friday.

Three laborers appeared calm as stainless steel nails were driven through their palms with hammers before they were set aloft on crosses under a brutal sun for a few minutes in San Juan village in the rice-growing Pampanga province north of Manila.

One of the men shed tears, while hundreds of tourists and residents watched and snapped pictures.

At least 12 other penitents were being crucified in two nearby villages, including in San Pedro Cutud — the main area for the annual tradition on the day Jesus Christ is supposed to have died. Dozens of policemen and medical volunteers were deployed to guard the thousands of visitors, including Western diplomats.

Ahead of the crucifixions, throngs of penitents walked several miles (kilometers) through village streets and beat their bare backs with sharp bamboo sticks and pieces of wood, sometimes splashing spectators with blood. Some participants opened cuts in the penitents’ backs using broken glass to ensure the ritual was sufficiently bloody.

The gory spectacle reflects the Philippines’ unique brand of Catholicism, which merges church traditions with folk superstitions. Many of the mostly impoverished penitents undergo the ritual to atone for sins, pray for the sick or a better life and give thanks for what they believe were God-given miracles.

Ruben Enaje, a 50-year-old sign painter, said he would be nailed Friday for his 25th time since he survived nearly unscathed from a 1985 fall from the top of a three-story building he was painting in nearby Tarlac province. Aside from thanking God, Enaje now prays for more painting jobs.

“Not a bone in my body was broken when I fell from that building,” Enaje said. “It was a miracle.”

“Now, I’m praying for good health and more clients,” Enaje told The Associated Press.

Church leaders in the Philippines, Asia’s largest predominantly Roman Catholic nation, have frowned on the Easter week rituals, saying Filipinos can show their deep faith without hurting themselves.

Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, based in Iloilo Province, said the crucifixions and self-flagellations are an “imperfect imitation with doubtful theological and social significance,” adding that only Jesus Christ’s death saved mankind.

Pampanga Bishop Pablo Virgilio David said the bloody rites reflected the church’s failure to fully educate many Filipinos on the correct Christian tenets.

Enaje and the other penitents said the church should respect their belief.

“When I’m up there on the cross, I feel very close to God,” Enaje said. “We grew up with this tradition and nothing can stop us.”

Red Cross officials’ concern centered on possible health problems like infection, heat stroke, blood loss and even death from the intense beating. They urged devotees to consider other forms of penance, including donating blood.

San Pedro Cutud village leader Remigio dela Cruz said no major health problem has befallen any penitent since the crucifixions began there in the 1950s. He cited precautions, including soaking the four-inch nails in alcohol sometimes for as long as a year then having these sprinkled with holy water before use.


Associated Press writer Jim Gomez contributed to this report from Manila.


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VATICAN CITY – Pope Benedict XVI will be in satellite contact with two Italian astronauts aboard the International Space Station in what would be the first papal call to space.

The Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano reported Friday that the hookup will happen on May 4 when Shuttle Endeavor docks with the station.

Two Italian astronauts will be meeting up, one a space station resident; the other, a visitor from the shuttle.

One of the two Italians will be carrying a silver medal donated by the pope. Others on the space station are Russian and American.


Christian pilgrims pray ahead of the Washing of the Feet ceremony inside the Chapel of St John and Baptistery, in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, th

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By MATTI FRIEDMAN, Associated Press Matti Friedman, Associated Press :


JERUSALEM – Christian pilgrims filled the cobblestone alleyways of old Jerusalem to mark Good Friday, commemorating Jesus’ crucifixion in the city two millennia ago.

Thousands of international visitors and local Christians retraced Jesus’ last steps down the Via Dolorosa, which is Latin for “Way of Suffering.”

The route ends at the ancient Church of the Holy Sepulcher, revered as the site of Jesus’ crucifixion, burial and his resurrection two days later on Easter Sunday.

“All my life I’ve been waiting for this wish — I’ve been wishing for one day to come here in Jerusalem to worship. I wanted to step where my lord stepped,” said Roshan Futsom, a pilgrim from Toronto, Canada.

“This is a special energy, a special love. I cannot explain,” said another pilgrim, Miodrag Ivanovic of Belgrade, Serbia, who was on the Via Dolorosa with a large wooden cross on his shoulder.

Jerusalem’s walled Old City was crowded Friday with adherents of different churches and faiths. The calendars of the Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches coincide this year, so the sects are marking the holy week together. This has required careful arrangements to avoid conflicts among the many ceremonies and processions of each church.

Jews are currently celebrating the weeklong Passover festival, and the city’s Jewish Quarter was also full of visitors Friday.

Israeli police were deployed in force in the Old City, which contains sites holy to Jews, Christians and Muslims.

Herman Backhaus of Munster, Germany, said being in Jerusalem reminded him that Jesus “actually lived, and his message didn’t die with him on the cross.”


Catholic devotees on the Philippines’ island of Luzon, were nailed to wooden crosses as thousands of spectators watched the reenactment of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion on Good Friday.

Christ’s crucifixion re-enacted in gory ceremony Play video
 Aside from the crucifixions, dozens of barefoot and shirtless devotees walked on gravel streets and whipped themselves with thin bamboo strips on a rope while others carved their backs with shards of glass.

Such rituals in northern Philippines, are extreme displays of religious devotions that Catholics in the region practice during the Lenten season.

The Catholic Church refuses to endorse these gory rituals and disapproves of the self-inflicted punishments as misrepresentations of faith but these traditions continue as devotees believe that it is a form of self-repentance.

After the ritual, the penitents were brought down from the crosses and their wounds were treated at on-site clinics.

The crucifixion rituals are held during the Holy Week, an eight-day celebration starting from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday.


One Response to “San Pedro Cutud, Philippines: Three Men Nailed To Crosses In Bizarre Easter Rites: UPDATED”

  1. Lets get real Here 0JuneJ2011 at 4:26 am #

    Some people just need some new, better, and reasonable hobbies. Ya know?

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