This year, the Holy Week and Easter story will be told both inside and outside the Cathedral, with a new Easter Garden installed by the visitors entrance from Saturday, 25th March.
Three crosses and a symbolic tomb will stand among an array of Mediterranean plants – rosemary, laurel, olive and santolina – reminiscent of the landscape and story of Jesus.
The man behind the new garden is award winning designer Andy McIndoe, winner of 25 consecutive Gold Medals at RHS Chelsea Flower Show and the prestigious Veitch Memorial Medal (one of the Royal Horticultural Society’s highest accolades) in 2017.
The tomb and wooden crosses have been made in the Cathedral Works Yard.
Canon Kenneth Padley, canon treasurer of Salisbury Cathedral, who has overseen the construction of the garden said: “The Dean was keen to bring the Easter story out of the building and share it with visitors to the Close, as an invitation to join us for worship and to share this sacred period with us.”
The new Easter Garden will stay in place until Pentecost on 28 May, the day when Christians recall how God’s holy spirit was given to the disciples after Jesus’ ascension.
There will be many opportunities for prayerful reflection over the seven days of Holy Week and Easter, with more than 30 services tracing the story of Christ’s death and resurrection, starting on Palm Sunday (2 April) and ending on Easter Day (9 April).
Following the ongoing series of Lent Addresses, in which clergy are currently examining contemporary challenges to Christian faith, a special Compline on Monday, 3rd April at 7.30pm will combine beautiful plainsong texts dating back to medieval times, with brief addresses from each of the three Cathedral canons, exploring the question, “Why I am a Christian”.
The Lent Addresses, entitled simply 46.2% (a reference to a recent report revealing just 46.2% of people in England and Wales describe themselves as Christians), have proved so popular this year that plans to host them in Sarum College had to be changed because there wasn’t room for all those wishing to attend. The talks were moved into the cathedral’s north transept.
Some of the most beautiful music sung during Holy Week can be heard at the ancient and dramatic Office of Tenebrae (Latin for “shadows”) on Tuesday, 4th April.
During this imaginative processional service, which draws upon the Sarum Rite, a form of worship dating back to the time when Salisbury Cathedral stood at Old Sarum, candles are gradually extinguished until a single light remains, representing Christ. The service features music by Tallis, Howells and many others.
In addition to the services taking place over this period, there is a Holy Week Concert on Wednesday, 5th April featuring John Stainer’s The Crucifixion: A Meditation on the Sacred Passion of the Holy Redeemer.
Tickets from £10-25, can be booked via: https://www.salisburycathedral.org.uk/arrangements/stainer-the-crucifixion/
The Crucifixion is a much-loved part of choral repertoire, an accessible yet dramatic telling of the story of Christ’s Passion including the moving chorus, God So Loved the World.
David Halls, director of music conducts the full cathedral choir in the spire crossing with John Challenger, assistant director of music accompanying on the Father Willis Organ.
A Family Easter Trail will be available from 25 March to 16 April. This promises to be a fun way for families to explore the cathedral during the festival of Easter and on Tuesday, 11th April, from 10am to 2pm Celebrate Spring offers nature-themed craft activities for all ages. Both events are free with general admission.
Holy Week and Easter highlights
Palm Sunday 2 April
The Eucharist with Procession of Palms
Holy Week begins with the Palm Sunday Eucharist, which retells Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem.
The service begins on Choristers Green, where the congregation’s palm crosses are blessed, then moves to the west front, where the choir sings Psalm 24 ‘The earth is the Lord’s and all that fills it, the compass of the world and all who dwell therein…’
Monday, 3rd April
Beyond Apologetics: Compline A plainsong service sung by the Salisbury Cathedral chamber choir containing chants that go back to earlier times at Old Sarum. During the service there will be three short addresses on the theme, ‘Why I am a Christian’, concluding our Lent series on contemporary challenges to Christian faith.
Tuesday, 4th April
Sarum Tenebrae: A service of Shadows
Sung by the Cathedral Choir, the ancient and dramatic Office of Tenebrae, a processional service drawing on the Sarum Rite.
Maundy Thursday, 6th April
Eucharist of the Chrism and Reaffirmation of vows
On Thursday morning, clergy and lay ministers from across the diocese gather for a special service at which they renew their ordination vows and reaffirm their commitment as Christ’s ministers.
During the service the Bishop of Salisbury blesses oil that will be used in both the Diocesan church and the cathedral throughout the year.
Eucharist of the Last Supper at 7.30pm
On the evening of Maundy Thursday, the Gloria is sung to celebrate Jesus’ last supper with his disciples.
The service ends with the stripping of the altar while Bairstow’s setting of the Lamentation is sung by the choir, followed by a procession to Spire crossing, where the Garden of Repose set stands, representing the garden of Gethsemane
Watch of the Passion, begins 9pm, ends midnight
Good Friday, 7 April Family service at 10am
Good Friday Devotion at 12 noon
The Devotion will be led by this year’s Holy Week Preacher, The Rev Stephen Hampton. Dean and senior tutor of Peterhouse Cambridge. The service, which will be conducted in the nave, comprises a sequence of readings, hymns, reflections, prayers and silence.
Liturgy of Good Friday at 1.30pm
A service in which, accompanied by words from scripture and music, we follow Jesus’ journey from his trial to his death on the cross and his burial in the tomb.
Saturday, 8th April
Holy Saturday and Easter Eve
Holy Saturday is a day of watching and waiting in prayer. The cathedral is stripped bare, and the nave seating is removed to provide a space for silent reflection and prayer.
Visitors who come to the Cathedral on the day are invited to pause and spend a few moments quietly in reflection. There will be no guiding.
Evening prayer at 4.30pm in the nave
Sunday, 9th April
A day of great celebration marking the resurrection of Christ. Worship starts in the early hours and continues throughout the day.
Easter vigil readings at 4am
The Easter Vigil readings are read in the Chapter House interspersed with the singing of psalms.
Easter liturgy at 5am
The Vigil concludes as the sun rises and those taking part move outside to the west front where the Easter fire and the Paschal (or Easter) candle, is lit as a sign of Jesus’ resurrection.
Led by the candle, the congregation enters the still-dark cathedral to complete the service, which includes baptisms and confirmations.
Eucharist with the blessing of the Easter Garden at 10.30am
During this service, the Easter Garden in the spire crossing, which is created by the cathedral florists around the symbolic tomb of Christ, is blessed.
Choral evensong at 3pm
Sung by the choir