Holy Week and Easter at Belfast Cathedral

Wednesday March 29th 2023

St Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast.

During Holy Week, Belfast Cathedral will start each weekday with a service of Morning Prayers held in the Chapel of the Holy Spirit from 9-9.20am beginning on Monday April 3.

The Dean of Belfast, the Ven Stephen Forde, said: “We hope that those who are making their way to work, or are in the city centre for other reasons, will make this simple daily service part of their Holy Week experience.”

The Cathedral will welcome two significant speakers to Holy Week services, the Rev Ron Elsdon, a member of the Cathedral clergy team, and the Rt Rev Dr David Bruce, who was for two years Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland and is a former Director of Scripture Union.

From Monday to Wednesday, there will be a lunchtime Service of the Word from 1-1.40pm in the Chapel of Unity. Each day, Ron will lead a Series of Reflections on his chosen topic:  ‘Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven.’  This will be followed by refreshments.

On Maundy Thursday morning, the Bishop of Connor, the Rt Rev George Davison, will gather all the clergy of Connor Diocese in St Anne’s  to share in a Service of Rededication and Recommitment to the promises each made at their ordination.

At 7.30pm on Maundy Thursday, Ron Elsdon will again preach at the evening Service of Holy Communion. This service commemorates the time when Jesus washed his disciples’ feet and then the Last Passover Supper which Jesus shared with his disciples in the Upper Room. In this powerful and moving service, Ron will conclude his series of reflections in preparation for Good Friday.

On Friday April 7, Dr David Bruce will lead the powerful three-hour service reflecting on the Seven Final Words of Jesus spoken from the cross.

Starting at 12 noon through to 3pm, recalling Jesus’ final hours on the cross of Calvary, David will unpack what these seven sayings mean for him, and what they have to say to our contemporary world. From 1-2pm, members of the Cathedral’s Past Choristers’ Association will lead the singing.

Dean Forde said: “For some, this is a service to which they can give the full three hours. Other people will find it meaningful to slip into a seat for one of the hours or even for just a few minutes.

“We hope that many people will take this opportunity to hear a meaningful preacher and thinker sharing with us all his personal consideration of the crucifixion of Jesus.”

At 8pm on Holy Saturday, the Cathedral holds the Easter Vigil which begins on the Cathedral steps as dusk falls with the lighting of the Easter Fire, from which the Pascal Candle is lit.

“Then, as we make our way from the Baptistery to the Cathedral Nave, we shall retell the biblical accounts of how God has rescued his peoples across the span of history, until we remake our own baptismal promises within the drama of Christ’s resurrection retold,” the Dean said.

On Easter Day, Sunday April 9, there will be an 11am Choral Eucharist and 3.30pm Evensong. Hayley Howe is the Easter Day soloist with Stephen Hamill at the organ.

Dean Forde added: “We hope that Cathedral parishioners, visitors and tourists to our city will find that some, or all, of our Holy Week and Easter Services will give opportunity to share powerfully in the journey which Jesus made with his disciples through the streets of the Jerusalem, to the Cross of Calvary and in Easter joy two thousand years ago.”

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