Holy Week and Easter Part 2

29th March 2023

Cathedrals are preparing for the Holy Week and Easter period – the holiest of times in the Christian calendar.

More Holy Week and Easter Events at Cathedrals.

Alongside worship, there is music for the season, events, family trails, egg hunts and contemplative exhibitions.

You can find details on individual cathedrals’ websites. Do check ahead.

More Easter and Holy Week information can be found on our earlier article here.

Bradford Cathedral is inviting people to Come and Sing Stainer’s Crucifixion this Easter – part of its offerings for Holy Week and Easter. Find out more here.

Chester Cathedral is proud to announce that two former choristers Elizabeth and Thomas Coxhead have had their choral setting of My Eyes for Beauty Pine chosen for inclusion in HRH The King’s first Royal Maundy service which will be held in York Minster this year.

All the music for the service, which will be attended by His Majesty The King and The Queen Consort, was personally approved by the King.

Congratulations to Elizabeth and Thomas, who will be presented to the Royal couple on the day, in having their piece included!!

Chester Cathedral is just one of our cathedrals that will feature as part of the BBC’s faith programming this Eastertide – catch it on Songs of Praise on Easter Sunday.

Visitors can experience the Stations of the Cross in the ruins of the old Coventry Cathedral on Good Friday followed at 6pm by J S Bach’s “St John Passion” in the new cathedral. 

Find out more here.

Durham Cathedral is inviting people to come together to journey through the Easter story and celebrate the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ with services, a procession through the streets echoing Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, Good Friday meditative prayers and silence and a dawn fire for Easter Day.

Reverend Canon Michael Hampel, Acting Dean of Durham said,

“Holy Week and Easter at Durham Cathedral take us on a journey of faith right to the heart of the Christian story. The very stones of the cathedral building are soaked with the prayers of centuries and we invite everyone to join us for some or all of this great journey, accompanied by prayer, insight and choral music – all of which hold us together as we follow in the footsteps of Jesus.”

Following the week of planned services at Durham Cathedral there will be family activities throughout the Easter holidays including trails, crafts, and a ‘Kid’s Go Free’ offer in the Undercroft Cafe.

For more information on services and events visit the Durham Cathedral website.

Gloucester Cathedral is inviting visitors to join them this Eastertide with a full programme of worship, prayer and music, which this year includes a powerful piece of promenade theatre re-enacting the last hours before Jesus’ death. The Way of the Cross starts at the Cathedral on the morning of Good Friday before going out into the streets.  There’s the Liturgy of Good in the Nave from 12noon, a solemn three-hour devotion at the cross before the Cathedral Choir perform Bach’s ‘St John Passion’ at 7pm.

Over the Easter Holidays there is plenty on offer for families including a new ‘Cheeky Chick Easter Trail’ and Easter-themed arts and crafts.  Guided Highlights and Crypt Tours are taking place on a daily basis, excluding Good Friday, with tickets available to purchase via the Welcome Desk.

The Revd Dr Rebecca Lloyd, Canon Chancellor and Director of Learning and Participation at Gloucester Cathedral, said

During Holy Week and Easter, we will be remembering Christ’s death and Resurrection and all the hope that it brings. Do join us during this period and discover your Cathedral afresh, whether that be for worship, to experience world-class music, to take part in our family activities, or to simply reflect and enjoy the peace of the space around you.

Further details about all these events and activities can be found on the Cathedral website.

Newcastle Cathedral is inviting people to join them to greet the dawn on Easter Sunday from the top of the city’s Castle Keep. It is a challenging climb to the top, and inadmissible for those with mobility issues, and sensible shoes are advised. The dawn service will be followed by a hot breakfast together back at the cathedral and a festal Eucharist.

Newcastle’s canon for music and liturgy, the Revd Canon Clare MacLaren recalls the magic of the dawn service:

“By candlelight, we hear read the stories of God’s saving faithfulness through the ages – the Creation and Fall; the Passover and rescue from Egypt; the promises of salvation made through the prophets before the coming of Christ. Then, as the choir sings a chant: “Wait for the Lord, his day is near…” we follow them up the wide, worn, stone steps of the spiral staircase that lead to the roof of the Castle, and emerge, blinking, out into the first-light of Easter Day.

“We light the Easter fire and bless its flames, marking our new Paschal Candle with the sign of the Cross, before we light it from the fire, and renew our baptismal vows together.

“The climax of the service has to be the joyful reading of the resurrection Gospel to which we respond: “Alleluia! Christ is risen!! He is risen indeed! Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!!” 

You can read Clare’s blog in full here.

You can find all Newcastle’s services and events for the easter period, including its first Messy Church here.

People are invited to make some noise at the Easter vigil on Holy Saturday at Norwich Cathedral.

It will be part of the first celebration of Easter gathered around the Easter fire, sharing stories of God’s love, before lighting the Easter candle and celebrating with those being confirmed.

The Bishop of Norwich will preach on Easter Sunday morning and those who attend the service will be invited to join in an Easter egg hunt.

You can find out more about prayer,  worship, poetry and music for Easter at Norwich Cathedral here.

Donkeys, Mandy and Elise will lead the procession to the morning service in Peterborough Cathedral this Palm Sunday while later there will be the moving meditation Stabat Mater, a mediaeval poem reflecting on Mary’s sorrow as she stands at the foot of the cross watching her son die.

During the week there are sung services of Vespers and Compline and a Bank Holiday Easter egg trail for families on Easter Monday with the Real Fairtrade Easter egg.

Many of the services will be livestreamed. You can find out more here.

Lily the donkey will lead the procession from the Market Square to Ripon Cathedral this Palm Sunday.

Journey to Jerusalem is an all ages service on Good Friday morning telling the Easter story, later the Passion (the crucifixion story) will be sung by Ripon Cathedral Choir and on Easter Eve the Bishop of Leeds will lead the Great Easter vigil which includes the kindling of a fire outside and the lighting of the Easter candle, representing Christ the Light of the world, which is processed into the dark church.

There will be easter eggs on Easter Sunday for the children as Ripon celebrates the hope of the Risen Lord and the ever-popular Easter garden representing Golgotha in the nave throughout Holy Week and Easter.

There’s an interactive Easter trail through Truro Cathedral for children and families to search for colourful Easter Eggs leading to seven stations with things to read, look at or do. The trail explores the events remembered by Christians during Holy Week and Easter and offers an opportunity for all to pause and look for Easter hope.

There are plans to process through the streets of Truro – led by a donkey – if the weather is fine on Palm Sunday as Truro’s Sung Eucharist marks the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. Collection will be made on this day of food for Truro Foodbank.

Truro Cathedral is another of our cathedrals to feature in BBC’s faith programming this Easter. Choral Evensong will be live on Easter Wednesday at 4pm on R3.

You can find details here, and which services will be livestreamed.

Winchester Cathedral has announced it is streaming all its principal services for Holy Week and Easter so people can join from anywhere in the world.

More information here.

In addition to services, from 3rd – 5th April there will be ‘Family Easter Craft Workshops’.

Join the Winchester Cathedral Learning Team for an Easter-inspired craft workshop and story time.

Suitable for children aged 3-11. More information here.

Worcester Cathedral Choir will perform J S Bach’s St John Passion at the Cathedral for the first time since 2013.

The concert will see the Cathedral Choir joined by instrumentalists of the Musical and Amicable Society, as well as a star line-up of soloists, including Jonathan Hanley
(Evangelist), Giles Underwood (Christus), Amy Dickinson (Soprano), Cathy Bell (Alto), Matthew Pochin (Tenor) and Harry Brookes-Owen (Bass).

This dramatic and intensely moving work will be sung in German, with copies of an English translation available in the programme on the night.

The concert will be conducted by the Cathedral’s Director of Music, Samuel Hudson.

Samuel said:

“We are so looking forward to performing this incredible music just before Holy Week, in the atmospheric setting of Worcester Cathedral. This
piece takes performers and listeners on such a journey, with the various stages of the Passion story told so vividly through Bach’s music. The Cathedral Choir are on top form after a lot of hard work on this intricate music this term, and we are all very excited to join with our orchestra and soloists to put the whole piece together on concert night!”

Tickets, priced between £10 and £20, are available to book now.

In York Minster, The Dean of York, the Very Revd Dominic Barrington will lead the cathedral’s Lent, Holy Week and Easter Services for the first time preaching a series of themed sermons entitled ‘The Last Word’.

The Stations of the Cross is now available for people to explore in the Dean’s Park open from 7am – 7pm daily until April 16. This year pilgrims will be able to journey around seven stations featuring artwork by local school children and material to encourage reflection and prayer. A final station will be placed inside the Minster on Easter Day, Sunday 9 April.

On Easter Saturday families are invited to get hands on creating and blessing York Minster’s Easter Garden as part of the cathedral’s activity to mark Holy Saturday. The session will include a short interactive family service exploring the Easter story and is part of the Minster’s season of Saturday Mornings.

Dominic 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.”