Story By: Ana Marjanovic, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Central European News
This 33-year-old man has claimed that a crucifix stigmata appears on his forehead every Christmas, Easter and Epiphany before disappearing after seven days and returning for the next Christian celebration.
Nenad Paunovic, who lives in the city of Pancevo in the northern Serbian province of Vojvodina, said the crucifix wound has been appearing on every major Serbian Orthodox holiday for the last nine years.
He said it all started nearly a decade ago at a friend’s baptism when he was asked to be godfather.
Paunovic said: “The priest drew a cross on my forehead with oil and then it appeared on my skin. My doctor initially thought I had an allergic reaction.”
Doctors tested the oil and carried out an examination on the patient, eventually sending him home and telling him that it will simply go away in time.
However, when the next Christian celebration came around, so did Paunovic’s ‘stigmata’ wound.
Nenad told local media: “No one knew what was going on. I was left to look into it myself and I researched various books, coming to the conclusion that it is the stigmatic wound of Jesus, although I can’t be certain.”
Describing the events leading up to the wound’s appearance, he said: “My whole body hurts the day before, from everything from my little finger to the hairs on my head.
“Then small spots appear and turn red before pus oozes and they start to bleed. After 24 hours, it all stops and only the bloody cross wound is visible for seven days before disappearing with no marks left behind. Until the next holiday…”
Paunovic, father of a two-year-old daughter, added that he was never a particularly religious person and would like an explanation for the apparently religious phenomenon.
Paunovic said: “I went look for answers at various monasteries, but so far I have not received a single answer. Someone claimed it was a gift from God while another person said it is punishment for being dishonourable.
“There are also some people who believe I do this to myself every holiday. I want to tell them that I really do not mind being tied to a chair when it all starts and they are more than welcome to be in the same room with me until it stops.
“Then they come and see that there are no marks left after.”
Stigmata, primarily associated with Roman Catholicism, are the alleged appearance of bodily wounds and pain in body parts related to the crucifixion wounds of Jesus Christ, such as the hands, wrists and feet.
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