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Special services to mark the completion of work to York Minster’s Great East Window

By Leanne Woodhurst

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Two special services will take place at York Minster this month to celebrate the completion of the decade long project to conserve and restore the cathedral’s Great East Window.

On Saturday 12 May, pilgrims walking from across the Diocese of York will gather at the cathedral to share in a special reception and Evensong service hosted by the Chapter of York and the York Minster Fund. The event has been organised to give pilgrims and worshippers from across the diocese an opportunity to enjoy the fully restored window for the first time in ten years.

Then, on Thursday 17 May, a celebratory Evensong will take place in the Minster’s Nave where the window will be rededicated by the Dean of York, the Very Reverend Vivienne Faull. The service, which is open to all to attend, has been organised to thank everyone who has been involved in the restoration project over the last decade.

It will be followed by a reception where copies of the new book by York Glaziers Trust Director Sarah Brown – The Great East Window of York Minster – An English Masterpiece – will be available to purchase.

Neil Sanderson, Director of the York Minster Fund, said: “We are holding these events to say thank you to the many people whose work, support, wishes and prayers over the last decade have sustained us through this incredibly challenging and complex project.

“We look forward to welcoming people at both events to enjoy and celebrate the completion of work on the window, which is the largest expanse of medieval stained glass in the country.”

The pilgrimage started on Sunday (6 May) with walkers setting out from locations across the diocese. Many pilgrims are walking to raise money for charities including Christian Aid and Embrace the Middle East, one of three charities sponsored by York Minster’s congregation. Most of those walking for Embrace are walking on Saturday 12 May from Huby Church to York Minster – a distance of 11 miles.

Pilgrimage is a personal journey: for some it involves a strenuous physical journey, while for others it is simply the act of travelling and arriving.

The pilgrims will travel through some of Yorkshire’s most beautiful scenery and along some of the most ancient pilgrimage routes in the country. The walkers will tackle a variety of routes with some distances taking several days to complete, whilst others will choose day walks or to walk short sections. York Minster’s walking group of 16 pilgrims recently embarked on a seven day journey from Whitby to the Minster.

Pilgrims will be welcomed at the cathedral on Saturday afternoon (12 May) for refreshments before the Evensong service takes place in the Quire at 5.15pm.

On Thursday 17 May the service starts in the Minster’s Nave at 5.15pm and the reception will follow at 6pm.

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