What It's Like To Be Crucified: Danish Filmmaker Lasse Spang Olsen's Spiritual Journey To The Philippines

Philippine Christian devotee Ruben Enaje (C), grimaces in pain as he is nailed to the cross by men dressed as Roman soldiers during a re-enactment of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ on Good Friday in San Fernando City, Pampanga province, north of Manila on March 29, 2013.

Philippine Christian devotee Ruben Enaje (C), grimaces in pain as he is nailed to the cross by men dressed as Roman soldiers during a re-enactment of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ on Good Friday in San Fernando City, Pampanga province, north of Manila on March 29, 2013.

Source: Huffington Post

Last year on Good Friday, Lasse Spang Olsen was crucified in the Philippines.

The Danish filmmaker and stunt performer from Copenhagen raised eyebrows in 2014 when he joined several devout Filipino Catholics in northern Pampanga province for the annual crucifixions. The bloody display has been condemned by health officials, and the Catholic Church calls it a “distortion of the Easter message,”but that hasn’t stopped thousands of onlookers from traveling to Pampanga to watch the men grimace in agony.

But Olsen was different. The Philippine Star described the scene:

Unlike some of the other local “Kristos” or penitents who cried out when they were nailed to wooden crosses, Olsen only grimaced and closed his eyes. He also remained silent as his cross was raised by costumed centurions. His cross stood erect for a few minutes before he was brought down.

Foreigners are usually banned from participating in the ritual. But Olsen was reportedly allowed in after presenting a liability waiver from the Danish embassy.

HuffPost Religion reached out to Olsen one year later to ask about his story. His response has been edited for clarity and length.

Here is Lasse Spang Olsen’s story.

I am Danish and live in Copenhagen. I’m 50 years old.

Denmark is not a religious country — or even a religiously diverse country. Generally, everybody is just Protestant. Almost nobody goes to church regularly. I’ve never been religious and was not raised to go to church or believe in God.

I saw a movie about stuntmen when I was 4 years old and since then, I knew that it was the job I should have. At the age of 12, I carried out my first professional stunt job on a film.

Since then, I’ve worked as a stuntman and stunt coordinator for more than 400 films. I was also educated as a cinematographer, producing and directing a number of documentaries and feature films. That’s what I focus on now.

Like anyone else, I don’t like pain. However, I have suffered many broken bones and have received stitches at the hospital 29 different times after stunt accidents. I’ve always thought that I had a fairly relaxed attitude to pain, although I do not like to get hurt. But that was before I decided to get crucified.

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Categories: Asia, Easter

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