Looking back into the past

The first Passion Play procession, prepared by the capuchins, took place between 1608 and 1613 in Ljubljana. Basically it was undoubtedly a copy of the procession that was performed on Good Friday in Prague in 1604. Of course it had its pattern in different parts of Europe. All this shows close connection of slovene region with larger European space especially on spiritual and curtural level. The capuchin Romuald wrote the Passion Play in such a form that it was understandable and acceptable for the slovene people almost 300 years ago. With this  act of bravery  he showed that the slovene language is, as other cultivated european languages, appropriate and applicable to be used for special literary forms as well as for drama, that was often put into the form of rhymes.

The latest studies of the documents which are enclosed to the original Romuald’s Passion Play show that the Passion Play was first performed in 1713, when the bishop Kaunitz consecrated the Capuchin Church in Škofja Loka.  The documents  prove that the Passion Play procession was performed also in 1715. The text from the year 1721 is undoubtedly a supplemented form of the Passion Play on the bases of several years experiences. The original manuscript of Romuald’s Passion Play from 1721 has been preserved in Škofja Loka Capuchin Monastery in spite of all troubles during different periods in the past.

The capuchin Romuald invited the citizens of Škofja Loka, especially the members of different crafts, village people from throughout the surroundings. Regarding this fact it is necessary to underline two factors. The first fact is that also the ordinary and uneducated people can actively participate in mass cultural performance and secondly, during the 40 days preparation, the leader of the Passion Play created contacts as well as entertain friendly relations not only with the inhabitants from different places but also among the members of different social strata.

The last Passion Play procession was performed in Škofja Loka in 1767. In the Monastery Chronicle from the year 1768 we can read: »The procession which presents the suffering of Christ on Great Friday was forbidden just before the end of the Lent by the eminent archbishop from Gorica. He forbade the procession in spite of the fact that everything had been prepared for it. In the spirit of that time new tendences and new stream of events changed many things on the field of religious life. At that time Škofja Loka belonged to the Gorica diocese. Later on the Passion Play was performed in different places in the form of stage performance but the original Škofja Loka Passion Play in the form of procession was renewed in 1999 and again in 2000 and 2009.

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