Filipino devotees nailed to crosses in Good Friday rites

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SAN PEDRO CUTUD, Philippines (AP) -- Half a dozen Filipino devotees had themselves nailed to wooden crosses to mimic the suffering of Jesus Christ on Good Friday in Asia's largest Roman Catholic nation.

Church leaders have spoken against the annual practice which mixes Catholic devotion with folk belief, but it continues to draw big crowds, particularly in northern Pampanga province.

The reenactment of Christ's crucifixion at a dusty mound in San Pedro Cutud village drew at least 4,000 spectators and tourists, dozens of them foreigners. But unlike in the past, organizers this year banned foreigners from being nailed to crosses.

Men dressed as Roman soldiers hammered nails on at least six Filipino devotees' hands and feet as some let out screams of pain.

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Filipino devotees nailed to crosses in Good Friday rites
Filipino penitent Ruben Enaje grimaces as he is raised by actors playing the role of Roman soldiers after being nailed to the cross for the 29th time during Good Friday rituals on April 3, 2015 at Cutud, Pampanga province, northern Philippines. Several Filipino devotees had themselves nailed to crosses Friday to remember Jesus Christ's suffering and death, an annual rite frowned upon by church leaders in this predominantly Roman Catholic country. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
A Filipino penitent has his feet nailed to a cross during yearly religious rituals in San Juan village, San Fernando town, Pampanga province, northern Philippines on Friday April 2, 2010. Filipino devotees re-enacted Jesus Christ's suffering by having themselves nailed to the cross in yearly Good Friday rites frowned upon by church leaders in Asia's largest predominantly Roman Catholic nation. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
A Filipino penitent is nailed to a cross during yearly religious rituals in San Juan village, San Fernando town, Pampanga province, northern Philippines on Friday April 2, 2010. Filipino devotees re-enacted Jesus Christ's suffering by having themselves nailed to the cross in yearly Good Friday rites frowned upon by church leaders in Asia's largest predominantly Roman Catholic nation. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
Filipinos watch as a penitent is nailed to the cross during Good Friday rituals Friday, April 3, 2015 at Cutud, Pampanga province, northern Philippines. Several Filipino devotees had themselves nailed to crosses Friday to remember Jesus Christ's suffering and death, an annual rite frowned upon by church leaders in this predominantly Roman Catholic country. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
A Filipino penitent grimaces as he is nailed to the cross during Good Friday rituals on April 3, 2015 at Cutud, Pampanga province, northern Philippines. Several Filipino devotees had themselves nailed to crosses Friday to remember Jesus Christ's suffering and death, an annual rite frowned upon by church leaders in this predominantly Roman Catholic country. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
Filipino penitent Ruben Enaje, center, is nailed to the cross for the 29th time during Good Friday rituals on April 3, 2015 at Cutud, Pampanga province, northern Philippines. Several Filipino devotees had themselves nailed to crosses Friday to remember Jesus Christ's suffering and death, an annual rite frowned upon by church leaders in this predominantly Roman Catholic country. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
Filipino devotee Ruben Enaje screams as he is nailed to the cross for the 29th time during Good Friday rituals Friday, April 3, 2015 at Cutud, Pampanga province, northern Philippines. Several Filipino devotees had themselves nailed to crosses Friday to remember Jesus Christ's suffering and death, an annual rite frowned upon by church leaders in this predominantly Roman Catholic country. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
A Filipino penitent who is nailed to a wooden cross during Good Friday rituals Friday, April 3, 2015 in Pampanga province, northern Philippines. Several Filipino devotees had themselves nailed to crosses Friday to remember Jesus Christ's suffering and death, an annual rite frowned upon by church leaders in this predominantly Roman Catholic country. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
A Filipino penitent looks up as he is nailed to a wooden cross during Good Friday rituals Friday, April 3, 2015 in Pampanga province, northern Philippines. Several Filipino devotees had themselves nailed to crosses Friday to remember Jesus Christ's suffering and death, an annual rite frowned upon by church leaders in this predominantly Roman Catholic country. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
The feet of a Filipino penitent is nailed to a wooden cross during Good Friday rituals on April 3, 2015 at Cutud, Pampanga province, northern Philippines. Several Filipino devotees had themselves nailed to crosses Friday to remember Jesus Christ's suffering and death, an annual rite frowned upon by church leaders in this predominantly Roman Catholic country. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
MANILA, PHILIPPINES - APRIL 03: A Catholic devotee is hoisted up onto a cross by participants during a reenactment of the crucifixion of Christ on Good Friday on April 3, 2015 in San Pedro Cutud village in Pampanga province, Philippines. The annual crucifixion rites in small villages in Pampanga province draws huge crowds of people to normally sleepy towns in northern Philippines. (Photo by Dondi Tawatao/Getty Images)
MANILA, PHILIPPINES - APRIL 03: A Catholic devotee is hoisted up onto a cross by participants during a reenactment of the crucifixion of Christ on Good Friday on April 3, 2015 in San Pedro Cutud village in Pampanga province, Philippines. The annual crucifixion rites in small villages in Pampanga province draws huge crowds of people to normally sleepy towns in northern Philippines. (Photo by Dondi Tawatao/Getty Images)
MANILA, PHILIPPINES - APRIL 03: Flagellants kneel in front of crosses as a form of penance on Good Friday on April 3, 2015 in San Pedro Cutud village in Pampanga province, Philippines. The annual crucifixion rites in small villages in Pampanga province draws huge crowds of people to normally sleepy towns in northern Philippines. (Photo by Dondi Tawatao/Getty Images)
MANILA, PHILIPPINES - APRIL 03: A Catholic devotee nailed to a cross is helped by participants during a reenactment of the crucifixion of Christ on Good Friday on April 3, 2015 in San Pedro Cutud village in Pampanga province, Philippines. The annual crucifixion rites in small villages in Pampanga province draws huge crowds of people to normally sleepy towns in northern Philippines. (Photo by Dondi Tawatao/Getty Images)
MANILA, PHILIPPINES - APRIL 03: A Catholic devotee is hoisted up onto a cross by participants during a reenactment of the crucifixion of Christ on Good Friday on April 3, 2015 in San Pedro Cutud village in Pampanga province, Philippines. The annual crucifixion rites in small villages in Pampanga province draws huge crowds of people to normally sleepy towns in northern Philippines. (Photo by Dondi Tawatao/Getty Images)
MANILA, PHILIPPINES - APRIL 03: Flagellants kneel in front of crosses while whipping their backs with wooden flails as a form of penance during holy week on Good Friday on April 3, 2015 in San Pedro Cutud village in Pampanga province, Philippines. The annual crucifixion rites in small villages in Pampanga province draws huge crowds of people to normally sleepy towns in northern Philippines. (Photo by Dondi Tawatao/Getty Images)
MANILA, PHILIPPINES - APRIL 03: A Catholic devotee nailed to a cross is hoisted by participants during a reenactment of the crucifixion of Christ on Good Friday on April 3, 2015 in San Pedro Cutud village in Pampanga province, Philippines. The annual crucifixion rites in small villages in Pampanga province draws huge crowds of people to normally sleepy towns in northern Philippines. (Photo by Dondi Tawatao/Getty Images)
MANILA, PHILIPPINES - APRIL 03: A Catholic devotee nailed to a cross grimaces in pain during a reenactment of the crucifixion of Christ on Good Friday on April 3, 2015 in San Pedro Cutud village in Pampanga province, Philippines. The annual crucifixion rites in small villages in Pampanga province draws huge crowds of people to normally sleepy towns in northern Philippines. (Photo by Dondi Tawatao/Getty Images)
Thirty four-year-old rice cake vendor Mary Jane Mamangon is assisted after she was nailed to a cross during yearly religious rituals in San Juan village, San Fernando town, Pampanga province, northern Philippines on Friday April 2, 2010. Filipino devotees re-enacted Jesus Christ's suffering by having themselves nailed to the cross in yearly Good Friday rites frowned upon by church leaders in Asia's largest predominantly Roman Catholic nation. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
Hooded Filipino penitents flagellate in front of the wooden crosses during Good Friday rituals to atone for sins on April 3, 2015 at Cutud, Pampanga province, northern Philippines. The bizarre ritual is frowned upon by church leaders in this predominantly Roman Catholic country. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
Hooded Filipino penitents hit their back with wooden sticks during Good Friday rituals to atone for sins on April 3, 2015 in Pampanga province, northern Philippines. The bizarre ritual is frowned upon by church leaders in this predominantly Roman Catholic country. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
A hooded Filipino penitent flagellates during Good Friday rituals to atone for sins on April 3, 2015 in Pampanga province, northern Philippines. The bizarre ritual is frowned upon by church leaders in this predominantly Roman Catholic country. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
Barefoot penitents march towards a hill during the observance of Lent in the village of Cutud, San Fernando City Pampanga province north of Manila on April 3, 2015. Devotees in the fervently Catholic Philippines marked Good Friday by being nailed to crosses and whipping their backs bloody, in extreme acts of devotion that attracted thousands of spectators. AFP PHOTO/TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)
Penitent Ruben Enage (C) carries a cross as he walks towards a crucifixion site during the observance of Lent in the village of Cutud, San Fernando City Pampanga province north of Manila on April 3, 2015. Devotees in the fervently Catholic Philippines marked Good Friday by being nailed to crosses and whipping their backs bloody, in extreme acts of devotion that attracted thousands of spectators. AFP PHOTO/TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)
Penitent Ruben Enage (R) re-enacts the suffering of Jesus as he falls along a road while carrying the cross towards the crucifixion site during the observance of Lent in the village of Cutud, San Fernando City Pampanga province north of Manila on April 3, 2015. Devotees in the fervently Catholic Philippines marked Good Friday by being nailed to crosses and whipping their backs bloody, in extreme acts of devotion that attracted thousands of spectators. AFP PHOTO/TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)
Penitent Ruben Enage (bottom) is lowered after he was nailed to a cross during the observance of Lent in the village of Cutud, San Fernando City Pampanga province north of Manila on April 3, 2015. Devotees in the fervently Catholic Philippines marked Good Friday by being nailed to crosses and whipping their backs bloody, in extreme acts of devotion that attracted thousands of spectators. AFP PHOTO/TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)
A penitent lies prostrate during flagellation as part of Lenten observance in Manila on April 2, 2015. The dominant Roman Catholic church does not condone flagellation and other extreme acts of penitence including gory Good Friday reenactments of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, but devout Catholics say it is a means of atoning for their sins and to implore God to spare them and other members of their families from illness or bad luck. AFP PHOTO/TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)
Penitents gather in front of a portrait of Jesus prior to flagellating themselves as part of Lenten observance in Manila on April 2, 2015. The dominant Roman Catholic church does not condone flagellation and other extreme acts of penitence including gory Good Friday reenactments of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, but devout Catholics say it is a means of atoning for their sins and to implore God to spare them and other members of their families from illness or bad luck. AFP PHOTO/TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)
Penitents flagellate themselves as part of Lenten observance in Manila on April 2, 2015. The dominant Roman Catholic church does not condone flagellation and other extreme acts of penitence including gory Good Friday reenactments of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, but devout Catholics say it is a means of atoning for their sins and to implore God to spare them and other members of their families from illness or bad luck. AFP PHOTO/TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)
A penitent is nailed to a cross during the observance of Lent in the village of Cutud, San Fernando City Pampanga province north of Manila on April 3, 2015. Devotees in the fervently Catholic Philippines marked Good Friday by being nailed to crosses and whipping their backs bloody, in extreme acts of devotion that attracted thousands of spectators. AFP PHOTO/TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)
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