A Filipino Catholic man playing the role of Jesus Christ in a yearly Good Friday reenactment of his crucifixion has been nailed to a wooden cross for the 33rd consecutive time last week.
58-year-old Ruben Enaje, from the barangay of San Pedro Cutud, in San Fernando City, has been volunteering to get nailed to a cross on Good Friday since the 80s, but recently announced that next year will be his last impersonating Jesus Christ.
He is currently looking for a successor willing to have four-inch nails driven into his hands and feet and get lifted on a large wooden cross for about five minutes, every Good Friday. He also wants that person to be humble and not brag about their special role.
“I want to only do this until next year,” Enaje told Reuters. “What I’m looking for in my successor is that he serves as a good role model in his community and a person with good manners and values, not someone who would boast about the role or be too proud.”
The tradition of reenacting the crucifixion of Jesus Christ in San Pedro Cutud dates back to 1962, and is believed to have been inspired by the a play written by a local playwright.
It has become one of the most popular religious festivals in the Philippines, attracting thousands of Christian onlookers every year. However, it’s also a very controversial event.
Both Catholic leaders and public health officials condemn the practice of crucifixion and have been trying to discourage people from taking part in the yearly festival.
Although wounds caused by the metal nails take up to two weeks to heal, religious fanatics who volunteer to get nailed to a cross say it’s a small price to pay for the opportunity to express their faith in a special way.
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