Please note that the cathedral will be closed for sightseeing on Friday 19 July due to a Consecration. All are welcome to join us for worship.

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Lent, Holy Week and Easter at York Minster

20 Feb, 2020

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Article published 20 February 2020

From Ash Wednesday (26 February) until Easter Eve (Saturday 11 April), Christians around the world will enter the period of Lent – a time of reflection, penitence and solemnity – as they recall the momentous events leading to Jesus’ betrayal, imprisonment, torture, and crucifixion on Good Friday. Then on Easter Day (Sunday 12 April), sorrow turns to joy as Christians celebrate the wonder of Christ’s resurrection.

For the Right Reverend Dr Jonathan Frost, Dean of York, the Lent and Easter story raises many intriguing questions about faith, belief and hope.  He said:  “Every year Christians enter into the dramatic narrative of Lent, Holy Week and Easter. We journey with Jesus to the cross and rejoice in his glorious resurrection. From entering into this story we can find hope in times of despair, light in times of darkness and confidence in the power of love to overcome all things.

“We are given time to reflect on the big questions of life and experience the awe and wonder of worshipping in the amazing space of York Minster, built as a witness to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We hope people will feel able to come and see the story at the heart of the life of the Minster and the foundation of our faith.”

“Come and See” Mission during Lent at York Minster

Also taking place during Lent, from Thursday 12 until Sunday 15 March, is the “Come and See” Northern Bishops mission to the Diocese of York. “Come and See” is an invitation for people to have conversations about faith, to reflect, to pray and to discover God’s love. People will be invited to pray at the ‘HOPE’ prayer installation – an illuminated artwork with the word ‘HOPE’ created from free-standing wooden letters six feet high and four feet wide.

York Minster’s services and events for Lent and Easter are listed below:

Monday 24 February – The arrival of the cross for Lent and Easter

Six metres tall, three metres wide and hewn from rough scaffolding wood in the Minster’s workshop, the cross, the central symbol of the Christian faith, will be constructed in the Minster.  It will be in the Minster from Ash Wednesday until the Feast of Pentecost.

Wednesday 26 February – Ash Wednesday – Imposition of the Ashes, 11am and 2pm, during Holy Communion at 7.50am and 12.30pm, and during the Sung Eucharist at 5.15pm.

We welcome visitors to receive the sign of the cross marked in ash on their foreheads as a reminder of our mortality and of our sharing of death in Christ.

Silence in the Minster

Thursdays during Lent – from 5 March until 2 April, 7.00-9.00pm

Introducing the restorative and meditative power of silence.  A member of the Cathedral clergy will give a short talk on how to use silence, drawing on the deep well of teaching, resources and experience in the Christian contemplative tradition, before leading periods of silent meditation.  Poetry readings and music during the event will sustain the stillness and calm. Silence in the Minster will conclude at 8.35pm with Choral Compline sung by the Ebor Singers.

Stations of the Cross

Fridays during Lent – 28, February, 6, 13, 20, 27 March and 3 April, 11.30am

14 dramatic and stunning artworks by renowned York based artist Jerry Scott will once again mark the Stations of the Cross in the Minster.  The stations echo Jesus’s journey to his crucifixion and the 14 stages along the way. The walk around the Minster will include opportunities for reflection, hymns and prayers.

“Come and See” Northern Bishops Mission – Thursday 12 – Sunday 15 March

The mission events start with a York Minster Commissioning Service at 1.30pm on Thursday 12 March.  The Northern Bishops mission to the Diocese of York, is an opportunity for all to unite in local mission and evangelism: we pray, we invite, we celebrate and we offer hospitality, all in the power of the Holy Spirit, telling the Good News of Jesus Christ.  Find out more at

Stations of the Cross for families Good Friday, 10 April, 11.30am

Pupils from St Peter’s School, York, have used ceramics to create Stations of the Cross artworks for this year’s family event in Dean’s Park. The service begins in the Chapter House at 11.30am, will last about an hour and will be followed by drinks and hot cross buns.

Holy Week and Easter Day at York Minster

Palm Sunday

Sunday 5 April from 9.45am

Sung Eucharist and Procession with Palms. Meeting at the Mansion House, St Helen’s Square, York, at 9.45am.

Monday 6 April, 7.30-8.30pm

Johann Sebastian Bach’s Jesu meine Freude and Compline.

Tuesday 7 April, 7.30-8.30pm

Reading of the Passion Gospel with Charpentier’s Le reniement de Saint Pierre, and Compline.

Wednesday 8 April, 7.30-8.30pm 

Stainer’s, The Crucifixion, and Compline.

Maundy Thursday, 9 April

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. Clergy and lay people from around the Diocese will renew their vows. Dr Sentamu 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 10 April 

The Liturgy of Good Friday at 10am

Stations of the Cross for families at 11.30am

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.

Three Hours Devotion – When I survey the wondrous cross from 12-3pm

Canon Michael Smith, Canon Pastor at York Minster, has written six short stories about people watching Jesus’ crucifixion.  Some of the characters such as James the Disciple and Lazarus – raised from the dead by Jesus – are from the Gospels; others such as the mother of Barabbas, the bandit whose release by Pontius Pilate sealed Jesus’ fate, are imagined. In this session, Canon Michael will explore these six very different perspectives and experiences through scriptures, stories, hymns, prayers, music and silence.

Easter Eve – Saturday 11 April

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 12 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, his last Easter as a serving Archbishop.

Evensong for Holy Week

Throughout Holy Week, Evensong will be sung daily at 5.15pm and at 4pm on Sundays.

York Minster’s Easter Garden – Sunday 5 April

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. 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 (5 April) until Ascension Day (21 May).

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