Lent, Holy Week, and Easter at York Minster

York Minster recently announced its services and events for Lent, Holy Week and Easter 2019. Beginning on Ash Wednesday (6 March), Christians throughout the world keep a period of penitence which intensifies in the solemn days leading up to Holy Week starting with Palm Sunday (14 April) which remembers Christ’s entry into Jerusalem, his last supper (Maundy Thursday) and his crucifixion and burial (Good Friday). On Easter Day (21 April), we begin our joyful celebration of Christ’s resurrection from the dead. The Day of Pentecost (9 June), commemorates the coming of the Holy Spirit on the Church and marks the end of the Easter season.

The key events and services are:

Tuesday 5 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. It will remain in place until the Feast of Pentecost.

Wednesday 6 March Ash Wednesday – Imposition of the Ashes
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. Imposition of the Ashes will take place at 11am and 2pm, during Holy Communion at 7.50am and 12.30pm, and during the Sung Eucharist at 5.15pm.

Stations of the Cross
Fridays during Lent – 8th, 15th, 22nd, 29th March and 5th, 12th April at 11.30am and a special Stations of the Cross for Families on Good Friday, 19th April.
Stations of the Cross echoes Jesus’ journey to crucifixion and the 14 stages along the way. During the journey around the Minster, hymns will be sung and each station will provide an opportunity for reflection. On Good Friday, families are welcome to share in the Stations of the Cross which will be on the railings 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.

Silence in the Minster
Thursdays during Lent – 14th, 21st, 28th March and 11th April from 7.00-9.30pm
An event 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. The evenings will conclude with Choral Compline sung by the Ebor Singers in the Quire at 8.45pm. All are welcome to take part in Compline. The evenings are open to all, whether you are a person of faith or not. Those taking part will also have the opportunity to explore the Minster’s spaces by wandering around at will or just sitting in silence and letting the Minster ‘speak.’

Holy Week and Easter Day at York Minster

Palm Sunday
Sunday 14 April
Sung Eucharist and Procession with Palms
Meeting at the Mansion House, St Helen’s Square, York, at 9.45am.

Monday 15 April
Johann Sebastian Bach’s Jesu meine Freude 7.30-8.30pm and Compline.

Tuesday 16 April
Reading of the Passion Gospel with Charpentier’s Le reniement de Saint Pierre, 7.30-8.30pm and Compline.

Wednesday 17 April
The Ryedale Festival presents Wagner’s Parsifal conducted by Sir Mark Elder and performed by the Hallé Orchestra and Choir. Concert starts at 7.30pm.

Maundy Thursday – Thursday 18 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.

The Archbishop will gather members of the clergy from around the Diocese to renew the vows made at their ordinations. The Archbishop 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 19 April
The Liturgy of Good Friday at 10am, Stations of the Cross for families at 11.30am, Three Hours Devotion from 12-3pm
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. At 11.30am, families will be invited to gather in the Chapter House before setting out for Dean’s Park for a special family service of Stations of the Cross. Three Hours Devotion is a service of meditation, hymns and prayers with periods of silence for reflection.

Easter Eve – Saturday 20 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 21 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.

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 14 April until Sunday 9 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.

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 until the Feast of Pentecost.