Three top religious travel events next year
Next year, we have the opportunity to experience 3 of the biggest travel events on the religious calendar in exceptionally rare circumstances. Firstly the once-in-a-decade Oberammergau Passion Play is generating huge interest and tours are filling fast. 2010 is a designated Holy Year at Santiago de Compostela as St James' day (25th July) falls on a Sunday and the iconic Shroud of Turin is available for public viewing for a short 6 weeks due to Papal decree making it available only once a decade.
HISTORY OF THE PASSION PLAY
The genesis of the Passion Play at the village of Oberammergau is at once compelling and inspiring. Here is the story…
In 1633 an outbreak of the Bubonic plague was racing through Central Europe, killing hundreds of thousands of people. The Black Plague, as it was known, took the lives of 15,000 people in Munich alone. Oberammergau was then – as it is today – a lovely bucolic village resting in the mountains of southern Germany, in the region known as Bavaria. Despite all the villagers’ efforts, the plague claimed many victims in the town. With no end to the plague in sight, the frightened residents gathered and vowed to perform a play depicting the Passion of Christ every ten years forevermore if the Lord would spare their village of further atrocity. The town was spared of further calamity. The Plague took no more lives. And with the first performance in 1634 a tradition was born. Despite the intervening centuries and threats to their town, the villagers of Oberammergau have maintained their vow for almost four hundred years, performing every ten years the play portraying the Passion of Jesus Christ.
In 2010 more than 1,700 Oberammergau residents fulfill the solemn promise of their forefathers and will perform the Passion Play for the world to see. This event has become the world’s most popular dramatic presentation of the Passion. Join thousands of people from around the world in attending the Play in 2010.
HISTORY OF THE HOLY YEAR AT COMPOSTELA Next to the Holy Land, the pilgrimage route to Santiago is best known and most traveled route in the Christian world. The pilgrimage visits the resting place of St. James, the Apostle, thus it is often called ‘The Way of St. James.’ The town of Santiago is located in northwest Spain, in the beautiful region of Galicia.
It is widely claimed that in 1122 Pope Calixtus II gave Compostela the privilege of granting the grace of the Jubilee (plenary indulgence) to those who visited the shrine of the Apostle St James in the years when the saint's day, 25th of July, fell on a Sunday. An additional condition of the indulgence was that while in Santiago, the pilgrims would make their confession, attend Mass, gave a donation for the upkeep of the shrine, and perform good works.
SHROUD OF TURIN
Experience the thrill of viewing the Holy Shroud, a rectangular piece of Linen, which since the 14th century has been venerated as the burial cloth of Jesus Christ. The Shroud bears the imprint of the body of a man crucified in a way very similar to the biblical account of Jesus’ crucifixion. The face and the body imprinted on the 14 and ½’ cloth can be clearly discerned. Last time the Shroud was exhibited was in 2000 to crowds numbering hundreds of thousands. This is what is considered one of the holiest relics for Christians will not be seen again, publicly until 2020. In 2010 the Holy Shroud is on view only for 6 weeks based on a special Papal decree. Numerous books, articles, videos and scientific experiments have been published discussing the history and the authenticity of the Holy Shroud. It is one of the most controversial, yet fascinating religious and historic artifacts, we know of.