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Holy Week and Easter at Durham Cathedral

Starting this weekend Durham Cathedral is inviting people to be part of the most important Christian festival of the year with a programme of special services and events.

Holy Week runs from Palm Sunday (24 March) to Easter Sunday (31 March) and is time when Christians journey through the Easter story and commemorate the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The Dean of Durham, The Very Revd Dr Philip Plyming said:

"Holy Week at Durham Cathedral is a wonderful experience and an unforgettable way to recall and celebrate the world-changing events of Jesus’ death and resurrection.  We welcome people who are committed in their faith and those who are exploring and want to find our more.  As well as our services and events, the cathedral will be open throughout the week for people to visit and spend time in reflection and prayer, in line with generations of people who have celebrated Easter in this place."

The main Palm Sunday service is at 10.30am and includes a procession from Palace Green into the cathedral, echoing Jesus’s entry into Jerusalem.  Those who join the congregation will be given a palm cross as a reminder of Christ’s victory over death on the cross

On Tuesday of Holy Week, 26 March at 7pm, Durham Cathedral Choir and the Royal Northern Sinfonia will perform Bach’s St John Passion, a powerful and moving account of Jesus’ last hours. Tickets start at £5 and can be bought on the cathedral's website.

The Maundy Thursday evening service starts at 7.30pm and recalls the events of Jesus’ last evening, including the Last Supper and the washing of the disciples’ feet, a scene which the Dean will recall by washing the feet of members of the community.

Good Friday, 29 March, recalls Jesus’ death on the cross.  From 12noon the cathedral hosts two services which commemorate the three hours Jesus hung on the cross.  Both services include readings, music, silence and prayer and are times of deep reflection and contemplation. 

Holy Week culminates on Easter Sunday, 31 March, with five services which celebrate Jesus rising from the grave. The day begins at dawn with a 5am service around a fire in the cloisters, during which people can journey from darkness into light as the sun rises with music and prayer as well as affirmations of faith. The celebrations continue throughout the day with services at 8, 10, 11.30am and 3.30pm.

Andrew Usher, Chief Officer: Visitor Experience & Enterprise says,

“We get lots of visitors at Easter from all over the UK, as well as internationally, and everyone is welcome to join these special services and learn more about the Easter journey. The tone of the cathedral is very different during Holy Week and it’s a special time to experience Durham Cathedral as a living, working church. From Easter Monday onwards the cathedral is offering lots of family friendly activities which have a different feel but also share the Easter story.”

Following the week of planned services at Durham Cathedral, there will be family activities throughout the Easter holidays. Families can pick up a free activity leaflet filled with activities to discover more about the Easter story or visit Durham Cathedral in LEGO® in its new permanent home of the Monks' Dormitory. The cathedral is also making things a little easier for families through the holidays, with a ‘Kid’s Eat Free’ offer in the Undercroft Cafe.

For more information on services and events visit:


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