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Lent, Holy Week and Easter at York Minster

18 Feb, 2022

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York Minster today announced its services and events for Lent, Holy Week and Easter 2022.

Starting on Ash Wednesday (2 March), Christians across the world will keep a period of penitence culminating, in the solemnity of Holy Week, with the passion and crucifixion of Jesus, his burial and on Easter Day, the joyful celebration of Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead.

The Revd Canon Michael Smith, Acting Dean of York said: “This will be the first full schedule of Lent and Easter services at York Minster since 2019.  Everyone at the Minster is looking forward to welcoming people back to the cathedral for worship, prayer and reflection during Lent, Holy Week and Easter.

“For those unable to join us in person, many of the services will also be livestreamed so people will be able watch from the comfort of their own homes. Over the next few weeks, our worship will help us to follow the journey of Jesus towards the cross and beyond, and that helps us to understand that Jesus walks with us through the joys and sorrows of our lives every day.”

The Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, will be in residence at York Minster, preaching and leading services throughout Holy Week.  Archbishop Stephen said:  “In order to understand the cross, you need to stand under it. That’s what we’ll be doing in Holy Week this year: standing under the cross and listening carefully to Jesus.

“In particular we will focus on Jesus’ words from the cross: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me.” I am very much looking forward to being with you, and it’s good to know that others from across the Diocese of York can join in online.”


Full details of our events and services can be found HERE. 


The key events and services are:


Tuesday 1 March – The arrival of the Lent Cross

Six metres tall, three metres wide and hewn from rough scaffolding wood in the Minster’s workshop, the Lent Cross, the central symbol of the Christian Faith, will be suspended from the Central Tower.

Wednesday 2 March – Ash Wednesday: Imposition of the Ashes

The Minster will be given to prayer and worship throughout the day.  Ash is a sign of mortality – a reminder that we shall all die.  The sign of the cross reminds us of Jesus’ death followed by his resurrection and new life.  Visitors will be able to receive the sign of the cross marked in ash on their foreheads.

Service times and Imposition of Ashes on Ash Wednesday are as follows:

7.30am – Matins

7.50am – Holy Communion with Imposition of Ashes

12noon – Holy Communion with Imposition of Ashes

5.30pm – Eucharist with Imposition of Ashes.


Performance of T.S. Eliot’s Ash Wednesday

Actor and director Charles Sharman-Cox will give a live performance of T.S. Eliot’s moving poem Ash Wednesday in York Minster’s magnificent Chapter House. The free performances will take place at 1pm and at 3pm.  No booking required. A captioned recording of the performance will also be shown continuously throughout the day on a screen in the Chapter House.


Stations of the Cross in Dean’s Park

2 March until 24 April, daily 7am until 7pm

Stations of the Cross originated with the early Christians visiting 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 different traditions have used this form of devotion.

This year, pilgrims will be able to journey around seven stations in Dean’s Park, featuring artwork by local school children and material to encourage reflection and prayer.  A final station will be placed inside the Minster on Easter Day, Sunday 17 April.


Lent Webinars 2022 – Ways into Prayer

Thursdays from 10 March until 7 April at 7.30pm

Lent is the most important festival for Christians around the world.  Prayer is integral to the life of any Christian and is the bedrock of everything that York Minster offers.  To help us think about prayer in its widest context, a series of weekly webinars on Zoom throughout Lent will explore different ways to enter into prayer. Recordings of the webinars will also be available on our YouTube channel a week after broadcast date.

Each webinar will be led by a guest speaker with expert knowledge in their field:

Thursday 10 March – Art and Prayer

Led by Dr Deborah Lewer

This first talk considers how works of visual art, old and new, might stimulate and challenge our images of prayer.

Thursday 17 March – Prayer as Lament and Hope

Led by Wendy Lloyd

This talk will reflect on the rage and hope expressed in and through the practice of lament, a form of prayer that is being retrieved in these challenging times.  Wendy will share reflections and insights from the ‘Rage and Hope’ book published by SPCK in 2021 to mark the 75th Anniversary of Christian Aid.

Thursday 24 March – Habits of Prayer

Led by Canon Jessica Martin

This talk will consider the repeated actions of daily and seasonal prayer and their relationship to time and eternity.

Thursday 31 March – Praying as part of a Global Christian Family

Led by the Revd Canon Dr Anderson H M Jeremiah

This talk will explore the spiritual, social and political meaning of ‘prayer’ in the context of Global Christianity.

Thursday 7 April – TBC.


Holy Week and Easter Day at York Minster

Palm Sunday – Sunday 10 April        

The first day of Holy Week and the Sunday before Easter Day, Palm Sunday commemorates Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem.

10.30am – Procession and Eucharist for Palm Sunday (Livestream from inside the Minster)

Starting outside in the Minster’s South Piazza, two donkeys will lead the procession to the West End of the cathedral. The Eucharist will include the Passion Gospel, sung by The Choir of York Minster and the blessing of palm crosses, a reminder of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem.  This service turns from triumph to sorrow, marking the beginning of Jesus’ journey towards the cross.  Part of the service will be livestreamed from inside the Minster.

4pm – Choral Evensong (This service will also be livestreamed)

This service will prepare us for our walk with Christ through Holy Week.

7.30pm – Stainer’s Crucifixion

As a prelude to Holy Week, the Ebor Singers, an associate choir of York Minster, will perform John Stainer’s Crucifixion.  The work incorporates congregational hymns with a recounting of the passion of Christ.


Choral Evensong – Monday 11 to Saturday 16 April

The Choir of York Minster will sing at Evensong daily during Holy Week.


Holy Week Address by the Archbishop of York followed by Compline

This year, the Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, will be at York Minster to journey with us through Holy Week.

Monday 11 and Tuesday 12 April (These services will also be livestreamed)

7.30pm – Archbishop’s Address followed by Compline sung by the Ebor Singers

Compline is a beautiful, candlelit form of prayer said at the end of day and traditionally followed by a period of silent contemplation.

7.30pm – Wednesday 13 April (This service will also be livestreamed)

Archbishop’s Address followed by Tenebrae

The service of Tenebrae will be sung by the Ebor Singers.  The service will recount the betrayal of Jesus and the events of the passion through music, silence and the gradual extinguishing of candles.


Maundy Thursday, 14 April

11am – Chrism Eucharist (This service will also be livestreamed)

This service takes its name from the Chrismation (anointing).  The Archbishop of York 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 of York to renew the vows made at their ordinations.

7pm – Liturgy of Maundy Thursday – Eucharist of the Last Supper

The Eucharist of the Last Supper recalls the final meal Jesus shared with his disciples before his arrest and trial.  We remember that Jesus called us to love and serve one another through the washing of feet.  As we bless bread and wine, we follow his command to proclaim his death until he comes in glory.  The preacher will be the Archbishop of York.

8.30pm until Midnight – Watch

The Watch – a type of vigil – recalls the time Jesus spent in the Garden of Gethsemane before his arrest, trial and crucifixion.


Good Friday, 15 April

On Good Friday, Christians remember the crucifixion of Jesus.

10am: The Liturgy of Good Friday (This service will also be livestreamed)

A simple service in which we gather at the foot of the cross to pray. With readings and music.

12noon until 3pm: The Three Hours’ Devotion (Livestreamed at 12 noon, 1pm and 2pm)

Three Hours Devotion is a service of meditation, music and prayers with periods of silence for reflection. The Archbishop of York will preach at this service alongside a performance of Via Crucis, a devotion for Passiontide, with prayers by Eric Milner-White and music for organ by Philip Moore, played by Benjamin Morris.



Easter Eve, Saturday 16 April

8pm – The Vigil and First Eucharist of Easter and Confirmations

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. During this service a number of candidates will reaffirm their faith through confirmation. The Archbishop of York will preach and preside at this service.


Easter Day, Sunday 17 April

On Easter Day, Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion.

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.

10.00am – Choral Matins on Easter Day
This service will follow the pattern of Matins from the Book of Common Prayer, with sung psalms, canticles and an anthem.

11.00am – Festal Eucharist on Easter Day (This service will also be livestreamed)
We greet the risen Lord with joy, proclaiming Alleluia, Christ is risen, he is risen indeed! The Archbishop of York will preach and preside.

4.00pm – Festal Evensong – (This service will also be livestreamed)

A great day of rejoicing culminates in an uplifting service of Choral Evensong.


York Minster’s Easter Garden – Sunday 10 April until Sunday 5 June

A much-loved tradition at York Minster, the Easter 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.   The Easter Garden will be in the South Transept from Palm Sunday until the Feast of Pentecost.


Events for Children and Families at York Minster


Experience Easter Trail – Monday 11 until Sunday 24 April

Collect an Experience Easter Trail and explore six interactive stops around the cathedral to learn more about the Easter story.  The stops include the chance to decorate a paper spring flower to take home inspired by the Minster’s Easter Garden.

The trail is suitable for all ages, for both adults and children, and is free with general admission. Copies can be collected at the admission desks and will be included in our Little Explorer Backpacks, which help young explorers discover stories and fun facts about the cathedral.


NEW!! Saturday Mornings at York Minster starting on Saturday 16 April, 10am – 10.45am

Join our new sessions for families – Saturday Mornings at York Minster – and get hands on creating a spring paper flower inspired by the cathedral’s Easter Garden.

The new sessions will run throughout the year and explore the seasons in the Christian calendar, with different interactive opportunities each time including craft workshops, sensory activities, music and worship.

For this Easter themed event, families are invited to create a paper flower inspired by the Minster’s Easter Garden. The session will also include a short Stations of the Cross service for families in Dean’s Park.

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