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Holy Week and Easter at York Minster 2021

25 Mar, 2021

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York Minster today announced its services and events for Holy Week and Easter, the most important festival in the calendar for Christians around the world.

The Dean of York, the Rt Revd Dr Jonathan Frost said:  “In Holy Week, we walk with Jesus through the Passion story: from his triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday; to his trial, and execution, commemorated on Good Friday; through the grief and silence of Holy Saturday, to the utter joy of the resurrection on Easter Day. We bear witness to the love of God, which overcomes even death itself, and will never abandon us – love which leads to life in its fullest sense. This is our story! This is our song!

Services and events inside the Minster will be facilitated in accordance with the Minster’s strict Covid-security measures, with social distancing, hand sanitising, a one-way system, cleaning of all surfaces between visits and no more than 75 people in the cathedral at any one time. Pre-booking for the main Easter services is essential.

Palm Sunday – 28th March

Eucharist for Palm Sunday

10.30am – Livestream (with limited tickets for congregation).

At the Eucharist we hear the Passion Gospel, sung by the Songmen and Choral Scholars of York Minster and bless palm crosses, as a reminder of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, and what would come afterwards. This service turns from triumph to sorrow, marking the beginning of Jesus’ journey to towards the cross.

Choral Evensong for Palm Sunday

4pm – Livestream (with limited tickets for congregation).

A service of Choral Evensong which prepares us for our walk with Christ through Holy Week. The Preacher will be Canon Maggie McLean.

Monday 29th March

7pm – A Service of Lament (Online Premiere).

There is a long tradition of Lament in the Scriptures, where people of faith raise their voices to God in grief. In this season of Lent we provide a short service in which we can express our grief and sadness to God, with hope that God is with us in sorrow, and will hear our cries.

Tuesday 30th March

7pm – Candlelit Compline – Online Premiere

A beautiful candlelit service of night prayer with music and stillness. This service is a form of prayer said at the completion of the day, and traditionally after this service we are encouraged to enter into a time of silence.

Wednesday 31st March

7pm – TenebraeOnline Premiere

The service of Tenebrae takes its name from the Latin word for ‘darkness’ or ‘shadows.’ It is a solemn reflection on the searing events of Holy Week—in readings from the Gospels, psalmody, music and silence.  Candles are gradually extinguished until only a single candle, considered a symbol of Christ, the light of the world, remains. Toward the end of the service, the ‘Christ candle’ is hidden, typifying the apparent victory of the forces of evil over good.  At the end, a loud noise is made (the strepitus), symbolizing the earthquakes at the time of his death and his resurrection. The hidden candle is then restored to its place, symbolizing the triumph of good over evil.

Maundy Thursday – 1st April

11am – The Chrism Eucharist (Livestream only)

The Archbishop of York will preside and preach at the Chrism Eucharist and will bless holy oils for use through the coming year. Traditionally, in this service, ordained and lay ministers from across the Diocese gather together to renew their vows and their commitment to ministry. Because we are unable to gather together this year, the service will be live-streamed for the first time enabling everyone to participate in this moving and memorable act of worship.

7pm – The Liturgy of Maundy Thursday: A Eucharist of the Last Supper

(Livestream with limited tickets for congregation).

The Eucharist of the Last Supper recalls the final meal Jesus shared with his disciples in the upper room, before his arrest and trial. As we bless bread and wine, we follow his command to proclaim his death until he comes in glory. In a year when many have been unable to partake physically in the Eucharist, this service will help us all reflect on the meaning of the body and blood of Christ, and how we can be bound together through this sacrament even in its absence. The preacher will be Canon Michael Smith.

Good Friday – 2nd April

10am – The Liturgy of Good Friday (Livestream with limited tickets for congregation).

A simple service in which we gather at the foot of the cross to pray, with readings and music. The Preacher will be the Dean of York, the Rt Revd Dr Jonathan Frost.

Reflections for Good Friday

12noon until 3pm (Livestream with limited tickets for congregation).

This year we offer three separate half hour services with scripture, silence and music to aid our devotions. The Preacher will be the Revd Catriona Cumming, Succentor.

Holy Saturday, Easter Eve – 3rd April

8pm – The Vigil and First Eucharist of Easter (Limited tickets for congregation)

This Eucharist moves from darkness to light. We recall God’s saving actions through time, culminating in the Resurrection in the light of the first Easter Day. The Easter Vigil marks the end of the emptiness of Holy Saturday, and leads into the celebration of Christ’s resurrection. The singing of the Exsultet, the ancient hymn of triumph and rejoicing, links this night of our Christian redemption to the Passover night of Israel’s redemption out of Egypt.  The Easter Gospel is proclaimed with all the joy and splendour that the church can find and the Alleluia, which has been silent throughout Lent, returns.

Easter Day – Sunday 4th April                                             

8am – Holy Communion from the Book of Common Prayer

A simple said service in the traditional language of the Book of Common Prayer and King James Bible.

10am – Choral Matins on Easter Day (Limited tickets for congregation).

Following the pattern of Matins from the Book of Common Prayer, with sung psalms, canticles and an anthem.

11am – Festal Eucharist on Easter Day (Livestream with limited tickets for congregation). We greet the risen Lord with joy, proclaiming Alleluia, Christ is risen, he is risen indeed!  The President and Preacher will be the Archbishop of York.

4pm – Solemn Evensong on Easter Day and Dedication of the Grand Organ

(Livestream with limited tickets for congregation).

A great day of rejoicing culminates in an uplifting service of Choral Evensong and the dedication of York Minster’s Great Organ by the Archbishop of York, which is brought back to life after three years of refurbishment.

The Preacher is Canon Victoria Johnson, Precentor.

Services during Easter Week

7.30am Morning Prayer (Common Worship)

7.50am Holy Communion.

Evensong in Holy Week

Daily at 5.30 pm (Limited tickets for congregation)

We mark the end of each day in Holy Week with Choral Evensong – with seasonal psalmody and music, scripture and prayers and becoming more sparse and simple each day. These services take place in the building and will not be live-streamed.

Stations of the Cross – Online

Friday 26th March until Good Friday, 2nd April.

Released each day at 12noon

The Stations of the Cross originated when early Christians visited Jerusalem hoping to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, tracing the path from Pilate’s house to Calvary. They would pause for prayer and devotion at various points. Eventually those pilgrims brought the practice back to their home countries and ever since, Christians of differing traditions have used this form of devotion. This year we make our pilgrimage online. We use stations created by students from St Peter’s School, York. Each station will be accompanied by a Bible reading, a piece of music, a short reflection, and a prayer.

To access Stations of the Cross online click here. The stations will also be released on our social media channels.

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