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Lent and Easter at Bristol Cathedral

12th February 2018

Categories: Latest News

Over the six weeks of Lent, Bristol Cathedral will be offering a variety of meditation, discussion, cinema, special services and spectacular music. This year’s programme includes a led meditations, a lecture series exploring the depiction of the Virgin Mary in music, art and contemporary culture, cinema screenings, a procession around College Green led by a donkey, a new interactive service for children and their families and some of the most powerful and poignant music of the Cathedral calendar.

Lent – the great forty days of preparation for the Feast of Easter – begins on Ash Wednesday, a solemn day of repentance and forgiveness. As we receive the cross of ashes on our foreheads, we are reminded of our mortality and our utter dependence upon God our Father and we are encouraged to examine and review their spiritual lives. We have put together a wide and varied programme of events, with the hope that there will be something for anyone wishing to engage with this very special time of year.” Canon Nicola Stanley, Canon Precentor

Meditation and contemplation plays a big part in the Cathedral’s preparation for Easter. The Stations is series of meditations taking place at midday every Friday lunchtime, beginning on Friday 16 February, walking around the Cathedral reflecting on Christ’s Passion through the Stations of the Cross. The Cathedral’s popular candlelit meditation Sacred Space returns on Sunday 25 February March at 6pm and is followed by refreshments.

On Saturday 17 March, the Gospel according to St Mark will be read aloud and in its entirety by members of the Cathedral community, giving us the opportunity to experience Mark’s power, urgency, challenge, and comfort. It will last 90 minutes, and admission is free, with a retiring collection.

undivided is Bristol Cathedral’s flagship speaker series addressing cutting edge issues in spirituality, politics and social justice. This Lent, the series, titled Something About Mary, will explore the significance of Mary for Christians across the generations and, with the help of accomplished speakers, will look at Marian devotion in music, art, history and contemporary culture. It runs on Tuesdays 13, 20 and 27 February at 6.30pm and all are welcome.

As an alternative Lenten devotion, the cathedral is holding several cinema events during Lent. Chariots of Fire will be screened at 7pm on Saturday 3 March, in association with Bristol Film Festival. This academy award winning 1981 British historical drama tells the true story of two athletes in the 1924 Olympics: Eric Liddell, a devout Scottish Christian who runs for the glory of God, and Harold Abrahams, an English Jew who runs to overcome prejudice. Days of Heaven will be screened at 6.15pm on Wednesday 7 March as the final part of the popular electric shadows in the cathedral series, with an introduction by Dr Charlotte Crofts. A screen poem about life in America at the turn of the century, the film focuses on a steelworker who flees Chicago after a fight with his boss, taking his little sister and girlfriend with him.

Holy Week and Easter are the time for some of the Cathedral’s most spectacular and moving services. The week begins with a procession around College Green, led by a donkey – a real highlight for families. On Wednesday 28 April, the Lay Clerks and Choral Scholars of Bristol Cathedral Choir will perform the exquisite Lamentations of Jeremiah by Tallis – an absolute highlight for any music lover. Following the unprecedented success and popularity of Toddler Carols last Christmas, the Cathedral will be holding a new special service for children and families on Good Friday morning at 10am. Beginning at 1pm on Good Friday, The Triduum is a powerful series of services in the run up to Easter morning, taking us through Christ’s final moments and the wait for his resurrection. The beautiful Easter Vigil starts at 9pm on Easter Eve, with a bonfire in the cloister and fireworks with a glass of something sparkling in the Cathedral garden. The Bishop of Swindon leads the celebrations on Easter Day.

The fun for families continues after Easter on Wednesday 4 April, with a whole day of fun arts and crafts activities. The morning kicks off with the ever-popular Crafty Cathedral, two hours of sticking, gluing, making and creating. The afternoon, we host our first Cathedral Kids Holiday Bonanza! – a fun afternoon of Easter storytelling, music, games and craft. Visit for more details.

To see the full programme of activity, please visit

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