What is the Škofja Loka Passion Play?
The Škofja Loka Passion Play is a penitential passion procession based on a text by the Capuchin monk Romuald Marušič from 1721. The oldest preserved dramatic text written in Slovenian, featuring appendices in Latin and German and directorial comments, is one of the greatest achievements of Slovenian literature in the Baroque period. It is also considered to be the only fully preserved director’s passion book in Europe from the beginning of the 18th century.
The text of the Škofja Loka Passion Play is based on the Slovenian penitent procession tradition. It consists of 869 verses and is divided into 13 scenes: Paradise, Death, The Last Supper, Samson, The Way of the Cross, Whipping, The Coronation, The Penitent St. Jerome, Behold, Man!, Christ on the Cross, Mother of the Seven Sorrows, Ark of the Covenant, and The Lord’s Tomb.
Today, as in Romuald’s times, the Škofja Loka Passion Play is performed during Lent and Easter in the form of a procession through the streets and squares of the old town of Škofja Loka. Groups of performers move through the town, performing individual scenes from the Old and New Testaments and various allegorical motifs.
The play features more than 1,000 volunteers, including more than 800 actors and more than 60 horsemen. Most of them are locals from Škofja Loka and the Poljanska and the Selška Valleys, while some of the volunteers are from neighbouring municipalities, places across Slovenia and neighbouring countries. Due to the complexity involved, it is only performed every six years. The next production will take place in 2026.