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Easter Flagellation?

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  • Easter Flagellation?

    We've had a new church start up in the area, and their Easter celebration was quite unusual. They had someone dressed as Jesus, carrying a full-size wooden cross through the streets on Friday, surrounded by men dressed as Roman centurions with flails who were beating him. If you looked closely they normally hit the cross, but there were a few that went astray. The people dressed as centurions were verbally abusing him in Latin (I speak some Latin and I got the basics), so they had gone to a lot of work for this recreation.

    Do you know which church practices this, as it isn't a way of marking Easter that I am familiar with?

  • #2
    Originally posted by ChatterBox View Post
    We've had a new church start up in the area, and their Easter celebration was quite unusual. They had someone dressed as Jesus, carrying a full-size wooden cross through the streets on Friday, surrounded by men dressed as Roman centurions with flails who were beating him. If you looked closely they normally hit the cross, but there were a few that went astray. The people dressed as centurions were verbally abusing him in Latin (I speak some Latin and I got the basics), so they had gone to a lot of work for this recreation.

    Do you know which church practices this, as it isn't a way of marking Easter that I am familiar with?
    Never witnessed something like that in my life time. Wonder whether next year they may have part 2 and crucify him?

    God bless,
    William
    Comment>

    • #3
      Originally posted by William View Post

      Never witnessed something like that in my life time. Wonder whether next year they may have part 2 and crucify him?

      God bless,
      William
      Unlikely. The Council's Health and Safety officers would never allow it. :)

      Comment>

      • #4
        The sight of men engaging in self-flagellation during Holy Week is quite typical in my country. Some actually end in crucifixion. While the participants are typically Catholics,the Roman Catholic Church openly discourages such practices and calls it folk Catholicism. The participants engage in this practice as a vow or in thanksgiving for something miraculous that has happened to them, as a punishment for a wrong doing, and as a way of asking God for forgiveness. This yearly crucifixion event has been turned into a tourist spectacle of sorts. The local government and the Department of Health requires the sterilization of nails to be used and the administration of tetanus shots for those who will be crucified.
        Comment>

        • #5
          Originally posted by Jamsy View Post
          The local government and the Department of Health requires the sterilization of nails to be used and the administration of tetanus shots for those who will be crucified.
          Okay, I had never heard of that. Presumably they are taken down before they die?

          We just had an article in the newspaper about it here which explained a lot. It was something called a Passion Play and, although I didn't see it, it did end with a staged cruxification where the man playing Jesus was tied to a cross which was raised into the cruxification position. Unfortunately it didn't have any details about which church was staging it.

          Comment>

          • #6
            While Passion Plays are popular with Catholics in various places around the world, they usually don't entail much flagellation or actual harm during the play itself. Often there's teams of people or clubs that organize the whole thing and they know the tricks of making it look real enough without hurting the person who plays Jesus Christ. In that case, actual flagellation happens only by accident and the actor is crucified only for moments, bound not nailed to the cross.

            However there's various localised practices, particularly in Latin America and in the Philipines where the Play is enacted with real flagelation and beatings, and self-flagellation occurs outside of the play as well. I remember some 15 years back seeing a report on the news about Brazilian people who went through the whole thing all the way to the crucifiction (still no nails involved). Also lately there has been reports on Philipines doing the same thing, but with real nails. Naturally people were hospitalised afterwards...The actors who are crucified are trained on what to do and what to expect. Tthere's also an ambulance nearby and they use binds to minimize the damage done by the nails when the cross is set upright.
            It's a zealotic practice, but do this whole thing believing that they actually gain something spiritually from living the Passion.

            Generally the Catholic church discourages religious self-harm like flagellation, but that doesn't deter certain groups of people from doing it.
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