Good Friday ritual in Philippines

April 7, 2009 at 7:24 PM
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SAN PEDRO CUTUD, Philippines, April 7 (UPI) -- Three villages in the Philippines are preparing for a Good Friday tradition -- nailing local penitents to crosses.

The rite began in San Pedro Cutud in 1962. Ruben Enaje, a house painter who began playing Jesus Christ in 1986 after surviving a three-story fall, is to be raised on a cross at noon Friday, The Philippine Daily Inquirer reported.

Ten to 15 men are expected to join him in crucifixion. Before the central event, thousands of penitents will whip themselves.

Artemio Anoza, a faith healer, began the Good Friday re-enactment of the crucifixion. The ritual has spread to the nearby villages of Santa Lucia and San Juan.

Charles Henry Espiritu, secretary of the Holy Week Committee, said that the Archdiocese of San Fernando has not been asked to give its seal of approval to the crucifixions.

"Crucifixion is not part of the ecclesiastical calendar. It is discouraged in fact but in San Fernando, it is part of the Holy Week tradition," Espiritu said.

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