Škofja Loka unveils plaque to mark 300 years of its passion play

Škofja Loka – Marking the 300th anniversary of the Škofja Loka Passion Play, Slovenia’s oldest completely preserved play, a plaque was unveiled in the northern medieval town of Škofja Loka on Monday.

The plaque, laid in the pavement of the town’s City Square, where the play is performed every few years, is based on the work’s spiritual, theatre, religious and educational roles.

The plaque was made by Studio Miklavc, a design studio which has created the brand promoting the play and all the related activities.

The relief work, set in the paving, depicts the symbol of the cross as well as other symbols paying tribute either to the play and its message or to people who make sure its heritage is kept alive, including performers or volunteers who re-enact the story every six years.

The traditional staging, which was supposed to coincide with the anniversary, has been postponed to next year due to the epidemic. The largest open-air theatre production in Slovenia involves more than 800 performers.

Theologian Metod Benedik, the former superior of the Škofja Loka Capuchin monastery and an expert on the play, said that the play’s message remained relevant in today’s society, noting that the work did not merely portray suffering but also redemption.

The Škofja Loka Passion Play, or Škofjeloški Pasijon in Slovenian, is considered one of the oldest continually staged procession plays in Europe.

The original text was written between 1715 and 1727 by Capuchin monk Lovrenc Marusič, also known as Father Romuald, who lived for a while in the monastery, where the play’s manuscript is now housed. The play was first staged on Good Friday in 1721.

In 2012, the play was declared a living masterpiece of national importance in Slovenia. In 2016, it was listed on UNESCO’s representative list of intangible cultural heritage, becoming the first example of Slovenian heritage to be awarded this honour.