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Lent, Holy Week and Easter 2018 at York Minster

7 Feb, 2018

Article by Sharon Atkinson

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York Minster today announced its services and events for Lent, Holy Week and Easter 2018.  Lent and Easter are at the heart of the Christian faith recalling the final weeks and days in the life of Jesus Christ including his arrival in Jerusalem, the solemn events of the crucifixion, and the joy and triumph of the resurrection on Easter Day.

The season of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday – 14 February – and Eastertide ends on Sunday 20 May, the Feast of Pentecost. Holy Week runs from Palm Sunday (25 March) and ends on Easter Day (1 April). Entry to the Minster is free to everyone on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

Tuesday 13 February – Shrove Tuesday

The Lent Cross, the central symbol of the Christian Faith, will be suspended from the Central Tower above the King’s Screen in the Minster. It will remain in place until Sunday 20 May– the Feast of Pentecost.

Wednesday 14 February – Ash Wednesday – Imposition of Ashes

Imposition of the Ashes at 11am and 2pm, Holy Communion at 7.50am and 12.30pm, and Sung Eucharist at 5.15pm.  Free entry to all.

People can come and receive the sign of the cross marked in ash on their foreheads. The Imposition of the Ashes is a reminder of our mortality and of our sharing of death in Christ.

Stations of the Cross

Every Friday from 16 February until 23 March at 11.30am (additional Good Friday family service)

A cornerstone of the season, running throughout Lent, Stations of the Cross echoes Jesus’ journey to

crucifixion and the 14 stages along the way. As the walk journeys around the Minster, hymns will be

sung and each station will provide an opportunity for reflection.

Lunchtime Lent Talks

Every Thursday from 22 February until 22 March at 1.15pm in the Nave

An established favourite in the Minster calendar, the Lunchtime Lent Talks return again this year with five inspiring speakers sharing their insights and perspectives on the challenging subject of ‘Reconciliation’.  There will be a free, simple lunch served before each talk, with donations to Christian Aid welcome.

Date:                     Thursday 22 February

Title:                      ‘Reconciliation:  a personal journey’

Speaker:              Sister Patricia Harriss CJ, Director of Novices, the Bar Convent, York
Date:                     Thursday 1 March

Title:                      ‘The Cost of Reconciliation’

Speaker:              The Right Reverend Philip North, Bishop of Burnley

Date:                     Thursday 8 March

Title:                      ‘Conversations in Contact: Reconciliation in Conflict Zones’

Speaker:              The Reverend Joe Moesel, Assistant Chaplain General, HQ1 (UK) Division, Imphal Barracks

Date:                     Thursday 15 March

Title:                      ‘Do justice, love mercy, walk humbly: Reconciliation from Coventry Cathedral‘

Speaker:              The Very Reverend John Witcombe, Dean of Coventry

Date:                     Thursday 22 March

Title:                      ‘Glimpses of Glory’

Speaker:              The Reverend Dr Beatrice Brandon, Archbishops’ Adviser for the Healing Ministry.


Compline sung by The Ebor Singers

Every Thursday from 22 February until 22 March at 9-9.30pm

This moving service of night prayer for Lent and Passiontide, sung in the Quire by The Ebor Singers, offers a quiet space for reflection and contemplation throughout the season of Lent.  All are invited to attend.

Palm Sunday

Sunday 25 March                            

Sung Eucharist and Procession with Palms

Meeting at the Mansion House, St Helen’s Square, York, from 9.45am.

Evensong for Holy Week

During Holy Week, Evensong will be sung daily at 5.15pm (4pm on Sunday).

Monday 26 March

François Couperin’s Troisième leçon de ténèbres pour le mercredi saint,7.30-8.30pm and Compline.

Tuesday 27 March

Reading of the Passion Gospel with Charpentier’s Le reniement de Saint Pierre, 7.30-8.30pm and Compline.
Wednesday 28 March

Stainer’s The Crucifixion, 7.30-9.30pm and Compline.

Maundy Thursday

Thursday 29 March

Chrism Eucharist at 11am, Eucharist of the Last Supper at 7pm, Watch of the Passion from 8.15pm until midnight, with Tenebrae at 9.30pm

The Chrism Eucharist takes its name from Chrismation (anointing). The Archbishop of York, Dr John

Sentamu, will bless oils for anointing candidates for baptism and confirmation and for healing. The

Archbishop will gather members of the clergy from around the Diocese to renew the vows made at their ordinations.  The Archbishop will wash the feet of 12 people, commemorating Jesus’ washing the feet of his disciples before the Last Supper.  At the Eucharist of the Last Supper, the Dean will wash the feet of members of the Minster community. At the end of the service the consecrated bread will be taken to All Saints’ Chapel and will be placed on the altar where it will become the focus of the watch. Kept until midnight, the watch recalls Jesus’ time in the Garden of Gethsemane before his arrest, trial and crucifixion. During the watch, The Ebor Singers will sing the office of Tenebrae, recalling the gathering darkness as we move towards Good Friday.

Good Friday

Friday 30 March  

The Liturgy of Good Friday at 10am, Stations of the Cross for families at 11.30am, Three Hours Devotion from 12-3pm.  

The Liturgy of Good Friday includes Bible readings, singing of the Passion from St John’s Gospel, and the procession of a large wooden cross and prayers. At 11.30am, families will be invited to gather in the Chapter House before setting out for Dean’s Park for a special family service of Stations of the Cross. Three Hours Devotion is a service of meditation, hymns and prayers with periods of silence for reflection.


Easter Eve Saturday 31 March

The Easter Liturgy with Baptism and Confirmation from 8.30pm  

Beginning in darkness, the service will consist of readings telling the story of the liberation from slavery in Egypt of the ancient Israelites, followed by the lighting of the Paschal (Easter) Candle. The proclamation of the Easter Gospel is followed by a procession to the Crypt for baptism, confirmation for candidates associated with the Minster, the annual reaffirmation of baptismal vows and concludes with the celebration of the First Eucharist of Easter.  The President at the Easter Liturgy will be the Archbishop of York.


Easter Day

Sunday 1 April

Holy Communion at 8am, Solemn Eucharist at 10am, Choral Matins at 11.45am, Solemn Evensong with Blessing of the Easter Garden at 4pm.  Free entry to all.

Our services will celebrate the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.  The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu will preside at the 10am Solemn Eucharist service.


York Minster’s Easter Garden

A key part of the Minster’s Lent and Easter tradition is the Easter Garden.  Around 5 metres long, the garden depicts key scenes from the Passion. Starting on Palm Sunday with just the tomb and three crosses, new elements will be added as the Easter story unfolds including palm branches, 30 pieces of silver (Judas Iscariot’s reward for his betrayal of Jesus), a crown of thorns and three nails and a length of material representing Jesus’ burial cloth.

During the Easter Vigil on Easter Eve, the tomb will be opened and illuminated and the garden festooned with flowers to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection. The garden will be blessed by the Archbishop of York during the vigil.  The Easter Garden will be in the North Transept under the Five Sisters Window from Palm Sunday until the Feast of Pentecost on Sunday 20 May.

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