Services for Lent, Holy Week, and Easter at York Minster

York Minster today announced its services for Lent, Holy Week, and Easter. In 2015, the season of Lent begins today - Ash Wednesday. For Christians, this is a time for reflection, self-denial and generosity to others. Holy Week begins with Palm Sunday on 29 March. Each of the final days of the week are marked by the commemoration of specific events which led to the death of Jesus on a cross and which Christians remember on Good Friday, 3 April. On Easter Day, 5 April, despair turns to joy as we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. The Church’s celebration of Easter continues for 50 days until the Feast of Pentecost, 24 May, which marks the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the Church.

The key services for Lent, Holy Week, and Easter at York Minster are as follows:

Tuesday 17th February – Shrove Tuesday

In preparation for the season, a large wooden cross, the central symbol of the Christian Faith, was suspended high in front of the King’s Screen in the Minster. It will be removed on Sunday 24th May – the Feast of Pentecost.

Wednesday 18th February – Ash Wednesday – Imposition of Ashes

There will be several services during the day when people can come and receive the sign of the cross marked in ash on their foreheads. This Imposition of the Ashes is a reminder of our mortality and sharing of death with Christ. At each end of Lent, Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are the most solemn days in the Church calendar with a concentrated focus on worship, prayer and reflection. For this reason, access to the Minster is completely free on these two days.

Imposition of the Ashes will be available at celebrations of the Eucharist at 7.50am, 12.30pm and 5.15pm and at other services at 11.00am, 2.00pm, and 2.30pm.

Every Friday from 20th February until 27th March – Stations of the Cross

11.30am               Echoing Jesus’ journey to crucifixion and the 14 stops he made on his way, Stations of the Cross will take place in the Minster on Fridays during Lent. A stop is made at one of 14 stations beginning in the North Transept and ending in the South Transept. At each station there will be a Bible reading narrating the part of the Passion story, followed by reflection, silence and a short prayer. A hymn will be sung while moving from one station to the next.

Sunday 29th March

Palm Sunday - Eucharist Service

9.45am                 Gather in St Helen’s Square, York.

10.00am               Recalling Jesus’ entry into the City of Jerusalem on a donkey, York Minster’s Palm            Sunday Procession will depart from St Helen’s Square, York with a donkey leading   the short walk to the Minster. Palm crosses will be blessed and distributed and                          carried in procession into the Minster.

Thursday 2nd April

Maunday Thursday – Chrism Eucharist – Eucharist of the Last Supper – Vigil

11.00am               The Chrism Eucharist takes its name from Chrismation (anointing) and this is the annual service at which the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, blesses oils for anointing candidates for baptism, confirmation and for healing. The Archbishop will gather members of the clergy from around the Diocese to renew their vows. In addition, the Archbishop will wash the feet of 12 people, commemorating Jesus’ washing the feet of his disciples before the Last Supper.

7.00pm                 The Eucharist of the Last Supper and vigil until Midnight. This is a Holy Communion service during which people will have their feet washed. At the end of the service the consecrated bread and wine will be taken in procession to St John’s Chapel to be place on the altar. A vigil will be kept until Midnight remembering the time Jesus spent in the Garden of Gethsemane the place where he was later arrested before his trial                 and crucifixion.

Friday 3rd April

Good Friday -    Liturgy of Good Friday – Stations of the Cross for Families – Three Hours Devotion

10.00am               The Liturgy of Good Friday. This service has several parts: the reading of passages from the Bible; singing of the Passion; the processing of a large wooden cross and, prayers for the world.

11.30am               Stations of the Cross for Families. Dean’s Park will be the location for this special family event.

12am-3pm          Three Hours Devotion.  Service of meditation, hymn and prayers with periods of                             silence for reflection.

Saturday 4th April

Easter Eve - Outdoor Baptisms – Easter Liturgy followed by Baptisms in the Crypt

2.30pm                 Outdoor Baptisms conducted by the Archbishop of York. The baptisms will take place in a pool specially erected for the occasion on the Minster’s South Piazza.

8.30pm                 Easter Liturgy Service with the lighting of the Paschal (Easter) Candle. Conducted 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   Candle. Immediately following the Easter Liturgy Service, there will be a procession from the Nave to the Crypt for baptisms and confirmation for candidates associated with the Minster.

Sunday 5th April

Easter Day – Solemn Eucharist – Choral Matins – Solemn Evensong

10.00am               The Solemn Eucharist presided over by the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu.

                                This is the Church’s great celebration of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.

11.45am               We continue to celebrate the joy of Easter with Choral Matins.

4.00pm                 The Minster’s celebration of Easter Day concludes with Solemn Evensong.

York Minster’s Easter Garden

A key part of the Minster’s Lent and Easter tradition is the Easter Garden. Around five metres long, the 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 on Sunday 24th May.

For more media information or photographs please contact:

Sharon Atkinson – Director of Communications – t: 01904 557248 m: 07785 615457

Stacey Healey – Marketing Executive – t: 01904 559545m: 07557 110718