Advent & Christmas at York Minster

York Minster is preparing to mark Advent and Christmas with a range of beautiful breath-taking services, seasonal concerts and family-friendly activities throughout December.

From moments of quiet reflection to the cathedral’s most popular events of the year – the Christmas Carol Concerts – the Minster’s special services, festive events, traditions and seasonal music will celebrate the season’s themes of hope and joy.

The Revd Canon Peter Moger, Acting Dean at York, said: “Advent and Christmas lies at the heart of the Christian faith as it marks the start of the Church year. It is a time of reflection, anticipation and preparation for the birth of Christ which we celebrate on Christmas Day. Everyone is invited to come and experience York Minster at this very special time of year.”

Advent officially starts this year on Sunday 2 December with the Advent Procession service.
Please see below for an overview of services, events and activities throughout December:

Sunday 2 December – Advent Procession, 5.15pm

An atmospheric and breath-taking candlelit service of music, readings and prayers for Advent, in celebration and anticipation of the arrival of Jesus Christ, the Light of the World.

Friday 7 December – Sankta Lucia – Festival of Light, 7.30pm

A traditional candlelit Swedish service for all the family.

Saturday 8 December – Handel’s Messiah, 7pm

Conducted by Robert Sharpe, Director of Music, York Minster’s choir performs Handel’s popular and celebrated oratorio.

Thursday 13 and Friday 14 December – York Minster Choir Christmas Carol Concerts, 7pm

One of the UK’s leading cathedral choirs performs traditional and much loved Christmas music, with special guest readers.

Friday 14 December to Sunday 6 January – What does Christmas mean to you?

Add your Christmas reflections to our beautiful Christmas trees as we prepare our hearts and homes through Advent, building up to Christmas Day and beyond.

Friday 14 December to Sunday 6 January – Experience Christmas Trail

Discover more about the Christmas story by exploring family-friendly activity stops hidden around the Minster. Follow a trail with items to look at, touch, smell and discuss at each stop. Young explorers can also collect a Christmas themed Little Explorer Backpack filled with gadgets to help them discover the cathedral at this special time of year.

Sunday 23 December – Nine Lessons and Carols, 4pm

The first of two services consisting of nine special readings, carols sung by the York Minster Choir and hymns for everyone to join in. A traditional Christmas celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.

Christmas Eve – Monday 24 December

12noon – Crib Service: Traditional and popular family service.
4pm – Nine Lessons and Carols: The second of two services consisting of nine special readings, carols sung by the York Minster Choir and hymns for everyone to join in. A traditional Christmas celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.
11.30pm – First Eucharist of Christmas: Traditional ‘Midnight Mass’ with music from the St William’s Singers and the Minster Chamber Orchestra.

Christmas Day – Tuesday 25 December
York Minster’s special services celebrating Christ’s birth.

8am – Holy Communion (said, 1662)
10am: Sung Eucharist of Christmas Day. Preacher: The Archbishop of York
11.45am: Christmas Day Choral Matins (sung by the Minster Choir). Preacher: The Revd Canon Peter Moger, Acting Dean of York
4pm: Christmas Day Choral Evensong (sung by the Minster Choir).