The small Bavarian town of Oberammergau has yet to record any cases of the new coronavirus, and its pastor believes a 17th century promise could be the reason why.
In 1633, at the height of the bubonic plague, residents of the little alpine town prayed that they would be spared and vowed that in return, they would perform a passion play every 10 years depicting the last weeks of Christ’s life, his crucifixion and resurrection.
Passion plays were common during the 16th and 17th centuries, but the Oberammergau Passion Play is now the only one still regularly being performed.
For Pastor Thomas Groener, it is no coincidence that the town has so far been spared infections of the new coronavirus.
“God helped the people back then. He saved them from the plague epidemic, spared them. That continues similarly to today,” he said.
Although the town has still recorded no cases of the virus, the 42nd edition of the play, scheduled to be performed from May 16 in a new purpose-built theatre seating 4,400 spectators, has been postponed for two years due to the outbreak, in a blow to the local economy.