Towards the end of the Thirty Years War in central Europe there was an outbreak of the plague in Bavaria. The elders of the village of Oberammergau, in an effort to protect their village, decided to seal it off from outside contact. But an itinerant worker returned, bringing the plague with him, and it swept through the village. Whereupon the people solemnly vowed that, if God would show His compassion and lift the scourge, every ten years they would enact the Passion of our Lord. The plague left the village in 1633 and, as a perpetual thanksgiving and re-affirmation of faith, the villagers of Oberammergau have performed the Passion Play at regular intervals ever since.
How wonderful it is to witness a 386 year old promise being faithfully kept by a whole community. Without exception the actors are born in the village, or have lived in the village for twenty years or more. One thousand villagers, including children, who are a particular joy to watch, appear on the open air stage, whilst another four hundred are involved backstage or in the choir and orchestra.
It is inspiring to know that some of the children we saw in 2010 may now be the principal actors. The three generations of villagers you will see performing are but links in an unbroken chain stretching back to 1634.
The Oberammergau Passion Play can be seen only in Oberammergau performed by the villagers themselves in the great open air theatre with the Bavarian Alps in the background. A unique and unforgettable experience.
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