Christians were nailed to crosses in the Philippines today in a grim Good Friday reenactment of Jesus’s suffering.
Thousands of people watched as 17 devoted Catholics were ‘crucified’ in the gruesome annual ritual.
Church leaders have condemned the practice which they believe are a distortion of the true Easter message.
Nine men were crucified in Pampanga province’s San Pedro Cutud village today, while at least eight others were crucified in neighbouring villages.
The annual event—which dates back to the 1950s—drew an estimated crowd of 10,000 worshippers.
Many take part to atone for sins, pray for the sick or for a better life, or to give thanks for what they believe were miracles.
Ruben Enaje, a painter, 51, took part in the crucifixions for the 26th time today. He began taking part in the annual event to give thanks after he survived falling from a building.
‘This is not just for fun or for money. This is a calling,’ he told Filipino website Tempo.
He added that despite the crucifixions being condemned he still took part because the Church ‘stay at home during Good Friday instead of reaching out to penitents to explain their side’.
‘This is a spiritual vow as a way of thanking God for sparing my life.’
He had three-inch steel nails hammered into his palms during the ceremony.
The spectacle is a unique brand of Catholicism that merges church traditions with Philippine folk superstitions.
More than 80 per cent of the Philippines’ estimated 90 million population are Catholic.