News Entry

HOLY WEEK AND EASTER AT OLD SAINT PAUL’S

Date Posted: Sunday 26 February 2017

One of the first annual events of the Christian year, after the celebration of the resurrection on every Sunday or Lord’s Day, was a commemoration of Christ’s dying and rising at the time of the Jewish Passover.

This celebration is the origin of our Easter Vigil, a service which celebrates Easter and the Cross, but also the making of the world, which was begun, according to Genesis, on the first day of the first week. The original Vigil, therefore, was about Creation and Redemption at the same time.

Over the years, one day was divided into three different rituals to remember the Last Supper and New Commandment (Maundy Thursday), the Crucifixion (Good Friday) and the Resurrection (Easter Day). This happened because Christians wanted to pay closer attention to the different parts of the “paschal mystery” - the name given to the death and resurrection of Christ.

So the “paschal mystery” is a story told in many different liturgies in Holy Week, but as a unified act. It is one service that takes a whole week. What happens on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Easter Vigil forms a continuous dramatic story. The days are to be seen together rather than separately. Each service of Holy Week needs the others to tell the whole story. For example, resurrection is incomprehensible without Christ’s self-giving in crucifixion and at the Lord’s Supper. Therefore, Easter needs Good Friday and Maundy Thursday if we are to begin to understand it.

The “paschal mystery” is at the heart of our formation as Christians, because in the light of the death and resurrection of Christ we can begin to see all the
experiences, the up and downs of our lives, including, ultimately, our own death. And in that light we can understand and respond to God’s call to justice and peace for all, and begin to see how we can response to it.

All of Holy Week, and particularly the Triduum (the final three days), provides an opportunity to undertake a pilgrimage of renewed commitment, from triumphal entry, through the Lord’s Supper and the suffering of the Cross, to the new hope of Easter morning. We hope that you will be making that journey again this year.

Holy Week at Old Saint Paul’s 2015:

Palm Sunday (9 April):
10.30am Palm Procession and High Mass with sung Passion
2.00pm ‘Jesus on the Royal Mile’
Ecumenical procession from Mercat Cross to Holyrood
6.30pm Stations of the Cross and Benediction

Monday 10 April
7.30pm Service
at Saint Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church, Cowgate

Wednesday 12 April:
7.30pm Tenebrae, a traditional sung liturgy (joined by other churches)

Maundy Thursday (13 April):
7.30pm Mass of the Last Supper with Footwashing and The Watch of the Passion

Good Friday (14 April):
12 noon Three Hours Service, with
1.30pm Liturgy of the Passion
7.30pm Service for Good Friday
at Canongate Church of Scotland Church

Holy Saturday (15 April):

Easter Day (16 April):
5 am Easter Vigil Mass with the New Fire
8 am Mass
10.30am High Mass
6.30pm Evensong and Benediction

Category: GeneralServices


Latest White Rose

Published 11 July 2017

White Rose cover

The latest edition of the White Rose includes:

  • Decisive Moments
  • A coffee with Helen Tyrell
  • A Word from Victoria Stock

Visit White Rose downloads for more about the White Rose and archived editions.


The Pity of War

Old St Paul's Memorial Chapel

Posts from the Pity of War blog marking connections between Old St Paul's and the First World War.


Old Saint Paul's RSS feeds

Subscribe to our RSS feeds and get Old Saint Paul's news and events updates delivered to your RSS reader.