Easter isn't just about gorging on chocolate - it's an important date in the Christian calendar, a time when Jesus died and rose again. You can drop into almost any London church on Easter Sunday and the whole of Holy Week for quiet contemplation and raise-the-roof hymn singing. We've highlighted just a few below.
The great dome of St Paul's is one of the most striking features of the City's skyline, standing proud as a beacon of our Christian heritage. Walk over the Millennium Bridge on Easter Sunday with the majestic cathedral fašade before you and you'll be in for something of a spiritual experience before you even step inside. The building is a wonderfully historic site. Built by Sir Christopher Wren after the Great Fire of London in 1666 destroyed Old St Paul's, the new cathedral miraculously went on to escape major damage during the Blitz in World War Two. Images of the famous dome framed by smoke became a powerful symbol of hope in a dark time. This poignant story of survival and a lesson in leaving the past behind while looking to new life is what Jesus' resurrection at Easter is all about. The Holy Week services at St Paul's provide a traditional and thoughtful way to meditate on these significant themes. The great celebration of Easter begins with the lighting of the Paschal Candle on Saturday 4th April at 6pm and on Easter Sunday at 10.15am The Bishop of London takes the Choral Mattins.
Events at St Paul's Cathedral
Live Street Art
Three street artists take to the cathedral to create pieces which explore the subjects of Mary, the St Paul's Watch and wisdom.
Bring The Camera
2 All Souls Place, Fitzrovia, London, W1B 3DA | Tube: Oxford Circus Station
Anyone who's stood at Oxford Circus wondering which way to turn or trying to meet somebody outside Topshop cannot have failed to notice this striking in-the-round church standing at the northern end of Regent Street. All Souls is the last surviving church built by 19th century architect John Nash and received some pretty harsh criticism when it opened in 1824. Today, the church fills to the rafters for Sunday services as people escape the hustle and bustle of the West End and come into this place of worship. It also has an active outward focus, ministering to workers, students and young people through a variety of groups and events. Services are a rich mix of praise, music (All Souls' famous orchestra accompanies the congregation about once a month) and biblical teaching. Rector Hugh Palmer, a Chaplain to the Queen, Elizabeth II, since July 2012, and Rico Tice, All Souls' resident evangelist, talk about hope in the Christian faith. Services are on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday, when the evening service begins at 6.30pm.
While you might be hard pressed to get into the Easter Sunday services at the oldest Gothic building in London, Southwark Cathedral is running many additional services over the Easter period. A hidden gem of a cathedral on the south bank of the Thames by London Bridge, its position just across the river from the city means its mission is to the thriving business community outside its walls but at this time of year worshippers come from all corners to engage with Jesus' death and resurrection. Holy Week starts on Palm Sunday and on Good Friday there's the Walk of Witness which begins at the cathedral at 11am and stops at a number of places along the way for readings before concluding at 3pm.
Events at Southwark Cathedral
Monteverdi Vespers 1610
For a child-friendly atmosphere in the heart of London, head along to St Clement Danes. The classic English nursery rhyme - "'Oranges and lemons', say the bells of St Clement's" - could be said to be based on this church on the Strand and its bells indeed ring out the tune daily at 9am, 12pm, 3pm and 6pm. St Clement Eastcheap also lays claim to being the church featured in the rhyme but don't let a mere technicality get in the way of enjoying the tradition. The rhyme rings out on the church bells, the oldest of which is the Sanctus Bell which was cast in 1588 by Robert Mot, founder of the Whitechapel Foundry. A church has stood on this prominent spot beside the Royal Courts of Justice, on an island in the middle of the Strand, for over 1,000 years. The 'Danes' in the title may well refer to its 9th century construction by the many Danish who lived in England at the time and who dedicated the church to St Clement, patron saint of mariners. Mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086, the church escaped damage in the Great Fire of 1666 but was rebuilt by Christopher Wren in 1681. Not so lucky during the Blitz, it was all but destroyed in 1941 and restored in 1958 as the central church of the Royal Air Force. The Easter services both take place at 11am on Good Friday, 3rd April, and on Easter Sunday, 5th April.
Events at St Clement Danes
Most Heavenly Music
Eventide: In Memoriam Edith Cavell & Faure Requiem
Singingworks: Choral Classics
A String Of Pearls
People have been worshipping on this site for over 1,000 years, dating back to when Benedictine monks arrived circa 960. From these humble beginnings Westminster Abbey has become one of the most famous churches in history, not least because of its awesome architecture, with kings and queens having started and ended their reigns within its majestic walls for centuries. But, even though the Abbey has witnessed its fair share of pomp and ceremony - early examples are King Edward's burial and William the Conqueror's coronation - it still retains a tradition of daily worship, counting itself not just as an historic building but as a living church within the Church of England. Enjoy a special recital on Tuesday in Holy Week (31st March) when The Choir of Westminster Abbey will be performing Arvo Part's Passio. James O'Donnell, the Abbey's organist and Master of the Choristers, conducts.
Events at Westminster Abbey
Make a crown, dance the afternoon away, or learn to be a knight as Westminster Abbey's popular family events return this summer!
Brass On The Grass
An outdoor performance by Regent Brass.
Beyond Agincourt: One day conference At Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey, the final resting place of Henry V, marks the 600th anniversary of the Battle of Agincourt with a one-day conference for Henry V enthusiasts bringing together experts from the fields of armour, architecture ...
Set in the heart of the West End, St Martin-in-the-Fields is a popular place of worship and is frequently full to the rafters for its services and excellent concert programme. Every Easter it has a comprehensive programme of religious services and prayers, including services in Mandarin and Cantonese (for the nearby Oriental population of Chinatown). The annual Palm Sunday Procession is always one for the diary and includes a procession from Admiralty Arch led by a donkey. The historic church, which overlooks Trafalgar Square, was designed by James Gibbs and built in 1726. It houses a glorious eaterie - the Cafe in the Crypt - a gift shop, brass rubbing centre, art gallery and a market in the courtyard. Candle-lit concerts are held from Thursday to Saturday, there are free lunchtime recitals on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays and jazz on Wednesdays. All profits go to support the work of the church, with its particular ministry to the homeless.
Events at St Martin-in-the-Fields
Vivaldi Four Seasons By Candlelight
The Trafalgar Sinfonia with violinist Kerenza Peacock present a performance of Vivaldi's La stravaganza No 7, Handel's Air from Concerto Grosso Op 6 No 10, Geminiani's Concerto Grosso No 12 in D minor La Folia, ...
Free Lunchtime Concert: Charlotte Ashton
Royal Academy of Music final-year student Charlotte Ashton performs a flute recital of Bach's Sonata In E Major, Roxburgh's Stardrift, Dohnanyi's Aria For Flute & Piano, Jolivet's A Chant De Linos and Bazzini's A Scherzo ...
A Twentieth Century Choral Celebration
St Martin's Voices and St Martin's Consort with conductor Andrew Earis present a recital of Tavener's Song for Athene, Britten's Hymn to St Cecilia, Tippett's Five Negro Spirituals from A Child of Our Time and ...
Free Lunchtime Concert: Mengyang Pan
Pianist Mengyang Pan performs a recital of Beethoven's Rondo Alla Ungarese Op 129 Rage Over A Lost Penny & Sonata Op 10 No 2 and Liszt's Concert Paraphrase On Verdi's Rigoletto S 434.
Disco, soul and jazz covers band.
1st August 2015
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