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24 nailed to crosses in Philippine ritual

Associated Press / April 23, 2011

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SAN PEDRO CUTUD, Philippines — At least 24 Filipinos were nailed to crosses to reenact Jesus Christ’s suffering in a Good Friday rite rejected by Catholic church leaders but witnessed by throngs of believers and thousands of tourists.

Ruben Enaje, a 50-year-old sign painter, screamed in pain as villagers dressed as Roman centurions hammered 4-inch stainless steel nails through his palms and set him aloft on a cross under a brutal sun for a few minutes.

Twenty-three other Filipino men were nailed to crosses in the rice-growing province, officials said. It was Enaje’s 25th crucifixion. He says surviving nearly unscathed when he fell from a three-story building in 1985 prompted him to undergo the annual ordeal.

Amid a festive air — villagers peddled bottled water, food, and religious items — police and marshals kept order.

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