Lent, Holy Week and Easter at York Minster


York Minster today announced its services and events for Lent, Holy Week and Easter 2024.

Beginning on Ash Wednesday (14 February), Christians across the world will keep a season of penitence culminating in the observance of Holy Week. This week recalls the passion, crucifixion and burial of Jesus, and on Easter Day (31 March), the joyful celebration of his resurrection from the dead.
The Dean of York, the Very Revd Dominic Barrington said:
“The journey of Lent and Holy Week is the greatest drama of the Christian year. Jesus’ journey to the Cross is relentless and tough. It is a mixture of friendship and betrayal, fear and forgiveness, culminating in the ultimate climax of death and resurrection.
“We hope that people of all faiths and none, people with questions and people curious about Jesus’ story will come to York Minster to share in this great story and learn more of the depth of God’s love.”

View upwards of wooden cross with branching roof of the Minster in view

The key events and services are:
The arrival of the Lent Cross - Tuesday 13 February
The Lent Cross, the central symbol of the Christian Faith, will be suspended from the Central Tower.

Ash Wednesday - Wednesday 14 February 
Lent, Holy Week and Easter lie at the heart of the Christian faith. Come and share this time together as our vast sacred spaces are brought to life with the glory of seasonal worship and music.

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the season of Lent - a season of reflection, penitence and fasting, and of preparation for Easter. The Imposition of Ashes will take place during our services of Holy Communion - the ashes are blessed and the sign of the cross is made, in ash, on the forehead of worshippers.

Ash is a sign of mortality - a reminder that we shall all die. The sign of the cross reminds us of Jesus' death - which was followed by his being raised to new life. Ash Wednesday reminds us that through 'dying' to all that is self-centred in our lives, we may, through faith in Jesus, share in the fullness of life he came to bring.

Service times and Imposition of Ashes: 
•    7.30am: Matins
•    7.50am: Holy Communion with Imposition of Ashes
•    12noon: Holy Communion with Imposition of Ashes
•    4.00pm: Evening Prayer (Said)
•    5.30pm: Choral Eucharist with Imposition of Ashes (with Allegri’s Miserere sung by the Ebor Singers)

York Minster’s Sunday Worship during Lent (starting Sunday 18 February)
All are welcome to join York Minster’s Sunday worship, which will follow this pattern:
8.00am – Holy Communion Book of Common Prayer         
A quiet and contemplative service of Holy Communion in the traditional language of the Book of Common Prayer.
10.00am - Choral Matins
The Choir of York Minster will lead this traditional contemplative service of Choral Matins with canticles, psalms, readings, and State Prayers.
11.00am – Sung Eucharist 
The Choir of York Minster will sing at this service of congregational hymns, readings and a sermon on the themes listed above.

4.00pm – Choral Evensong 
Choral evensong is sung each Sunday by the Choir of York Minster as we continue our journey through the holy season of Lent. With music, readings and a sermon exploring Lenten themes.
Handel’s Messiah - Saturday 16 March 
Performed by the Choir of York Minster, 7.00pm, Nave.
The Choir of York Minster will be joined by internationally renowned soloists and an orchestra for a performance of Handel’s Messiah in the spectacular setting of the cathedral’s Nave. Messiah tells the moving and poignant story of Christ during the season of Lent and Easter.

Holy Week at York Minster

Palm Sunday, 24 March 
Palm Sunday is the first day of Holy Week and the Sunday before Easter Day. On this day we commemorate Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem.
10.30am: Procession and Eucharist for Palm Sunday
The service will begin outside the Minster on the South Piazza when a procession led by a donkey leads the congregation into the cathedral via the West End. The Eucharist will include the Passion Gospel, sung by the Choir of York Minster, and the blessing of 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 towards the cross.
4.00pm: Choral Evensong 
A service of Choral Evensong which prepares us for our walk with Christ through Holy Week.
7.30pm: Stainer’s Crucifixion
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 - sung daily during Holy Week by the Choir of York Minster.
Chrism Eucharist, Tuesday 26 March
The Chrism Eucharist takes its name from Chrismation (anointing). The Archbishop of York will preach and will bless three oils for baptism, confirmation, and healing. The Archbishop will gather clergy from around the Diocese to renew the vows made at their ordinations, remembering the ministry to which they are called.

Maundy Thursday, 28 March 
5.30pm: Choral Evensong

7.00pm: Eucharist of the Last Supper 
The Eucharist of the Last Supper recalls the final meal Jesus shared with his disciples in the upper room, 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 sermon will be delivered by Rhidian Brook, the Holy Week Preacher. 

8.30pm: The Watch 
The Watch will follow the Eucharist of the last Supper. The Watch – a type of vigil – recalls the time Jesus spent in the Garden of Gethsemane before his arrest, trial and crucifixion.

Good Friday, Friday 29 March 
On Good Friday, Christians remember the crucifixion of Jesus.

10.00am – Stations of the Cross
Learn more about the Easter story in a family-friendly service following in the footsteps of Jesus.

12noon – The Three Hours’ Devotion with the Liturgy of Good Friday 
We begin the Three Hours’ Devotion with a service of meditation, music and prayers with periods of silence and addresses given by the Holy Week Preacher.  At 1.30pm, the formal Liturgy of Good Friday will commence with a sung passion, veneration of the cross and a sermon by Rhidian Brook, the Holy Week Preacher.

5.30pm – Choral Evensong for Good Friday
Easter Eve, The Vigil and First Eucharist of Easter, 
Saturday 30 March, 8.00pm

This Eucharist moves from darkness into 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 sermon will be delivered by Rhidian Brook, the Holy Week Preacher, and the service will be sung by the St William’s Singers. 
Easter Day, Sunday 31 March  
On Easter Day, Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion.

8.00am: Holy Communion from the Book of Common Prayer
A simple said service in the traditional language of the Book of Common Prayer.

10.00am: Choral Matins on Easter Day
Following the pattern of Matins from the Book of Common Prayer, with sung psalms, canticles and an anthem.

11.00am: Festal Eucharist on Easter Day 
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: Choral Evensong 
A great day of rejoicing culminates in an uplifting service of Choral Evensong. The preacher will be the Canon Precentor, Victoria Johnson.

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