ORGANISERS of the cancelled Passion Play have forgiven a council officer who has admitted making a mistake.

The Rev Adam Romanis, of SS Mary and John, in Cowley Road, Oxford, said the officer’s apology was “full and frank” and “smacked of sincerity”.

He said: “It is very welcome, particularly for Good Friday. If human beings as a whole behaved like that the world would be a better place and that is what Good Friday is all about.”

Wednesday’s Oxford Mail reported that the event, planned for today, had been pulled because a licensing officer didn’t know what a Passion Play was.

Hundreds of worshippers were expected at the procession along Cowley Road, recreating the trial and crucifixion of Jesus. It had been organised by St Stephen’s House Theological college and the church.

In a statement, the council’s licensing team leader, Julian Alison, said: “At the time of processing the application, I did not appreciate this was a religious event.

“I made a mistake and by the time I realised my mistake, the organisers had cancelled the event.

“I apologise to the organisers of the event and those members of the public who had been looking forward to it. Such a mistake will not happen again.”

Mr Romanis added: “If it hadn’t been cancelled, would it have got this much publicity? Often it is a struggle to persuade people to do things, so it is wonderful to see the widespread demand for it, not just from the places you would expect.”

The event was first held in 2012, but not last year because St Stephen’s House is only in residence during Holy Week on alternate years.

But Mr Romanis said, given the public demand for it this year, he would look at holding it next year.

A city council spokesman said: “As far as we are aware the organisers did not question the decision at a higher level within the organisation.”

  • Cowley Road churches will today hold their traditional Stations of the Cross. Church pastors will carry a full-size wooden cross from the Methodist Church at 10.30am to SS Mary and John at 11.30am, stopping along the way to pray.