Religion: New Christus

In the little (pop. 5,200) Bavarian village of Oberammergau one day last week, the townspeople stood silent in the sundrenched street. Inside the town hall, 25 elders and the parish priest were solemnly deciding who should play the 16 major roles of the 300-year-old Passion Play, scheduled to begin its first season in 16 years next May 21. As each part was filled, the town crier—a young man with shoulder-length blond hair—wrote the names on a blackboard for the people to see.

Greatest honor that Oberammergau has to offer is the role of Christ,...

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