An Introduction to Holy Week at Saint Mark’s, 2022

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A note about pandemic safety:

The current state of pandemic safety precautions is explained in this message and video.
There will be no pre-registration or screening at the door for any of this year's services.
Masks are now optional in the cathedral building, but a "masked & distanced" section is set aside on the south side of the nave. Spaces in the masked and distanced section are limited, and available on a first-come, first served basis.
The following services will be livestreamed:
  • Palm Sunday 11 a.m.
  • Tenebrae
  • Maundy Thursday
  • Good Friday noon
  • Good Friday 7 p.m.
  • The Great Vigil of Easter
  • Easter Sunday 11 a.m.
All other liturgies are either in person only, or online only via Zoom, as indicated.

Holy Week is upon us, and for the first time in three years the full cycle of Holy Week liturgies will be offered in person, in their familiar form, with a full complement of musicians and liturgical ministers. Thanks be to God!

Many elements of the liturgies for these sacred days have been passed down to us from the earliest centuries of Christianity, while other elements are unique to Saint Mark's, having become beloved traditions of this community through the decades, and can be experienced nowhere else. In addition, there are some new or revised liturgies that will be offered for the first time in 2022.

The liturgies of this most sacred time are an invitation to enter more fully into the mystery of the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Please participate as you feel called. Consider joining in an experience new to you. The entire community is blessed by your presence.

Sunday, April 10: PALM SUNDAY—The Sunday of the Passion

8 a.m.  •  Palm Sunday Liturgy •  Thomsen Chapel

9 a.m. •  Palm Sunday Liturgy •  cathedral nave

11 a.m. •  Palm Sunday Liturgy •  cathedral nave and livestreamed

The Holy Week journey to the Cross begins with Jesus' entrance into Jerusalem, greeted by shouts of "Hosanna!" At 8 a.m., palms are distributed and blessed, and at 9 & 11 a.m. an outdoor procession follows (weather permitting). In some traditions, these Palm Sunday processions are a solemn affair, but at Saint Mark's it has been our practice to make this procession as boisterous and noisy as the original would have been. This year we welcome back The Super-Krewe, a New Orleans-style brass band, to lead the parade.

Once inside the church, the liturgy makes an abrupt turn, as we hear the entire narrative of Jesus' crucifixion as it is told in one of the Gospels. (This year, the Passion according to Luke is read.) "Palm Sunday" and "Passion Sunday" were at one time observed on two separate days one week apart, but are combined into one liturgy in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer. The dramatic shift in tone marks the beginning of the solemnity that will follow in the remainder of the week.


12:15 p.m.  •  Bilingual Stations of the Cross Liturgy - Liturgia del Vía Crucis bilingüe  •  cathedral nave

A new offering this year. Following the 11 a.m. Palm Sunday Liturgy, a communal walking of the Stations of the Cross, presented in English and Spanish, structured around contemplation of the sculptural interpretations by artist Virginia Maksymowicz. Readings and prayers will alternate languages, and a leaflet with both languages will help you locate yourself in the structure of the liturgy. This will be a moving, prayerful experience, whether or not you speak Spanish yourself; in fact, experiencing these familiar scriptures and prayers in this new way may provide a new perspective and fresh insight.


7 p.m. •  Contemplative Eucharist on Palm Sunday  •  Thomsen Chapel

Canon Rosario-Cruz will preside, with music offered by Rebekah Gilmore.


9:30 p.m. •  The Office of Compline for Palm Sunday  •  cathedral nave and livestreamed

Compline on Palm Sunday will feature the anthem Lamentations by Peter Hallock, written in 1973 for the Compline Choir with solo cello. It will be performed by the cellist for whom the work was composed, Page Smith.

Monday, April 11: Monday in Holy Week

7 p.m.  •  Contemplative Eucharist  •  cathedral nave

On the first weekday of Holy Week, experience a special version of the Contemplative Eucharist liturgy that is offered every Sunday at 7 p.m. in Thomsen Chapel. This is a liturgy of silence and stillness, following the familiar structure of the Holy Eucharist, but with generous time for reflection, meditation, and listening to the still small voice within. If you have never experienced the regular 7 p.m. Sunday service, you are especially encouraged to attend. Meditative music will be provided by cellist Page Smith.


Tuesday, April 12: Tuesday in Holy Week

7 p.m.  •  Healing Eucharist  •  cathedral nave

This service of Holy Eucharist is offered in the cathedral nave, but with the chairs and altar rearranged to emphasize to create a more intimate experience. To the familiar Eucharist liturgy, special prayers for healing (for yourself or others) are added. There will also be the option to participate in the ancient practice of anointing and laying on of hands by a priest. Music will be offered by Canon Michael Kleinschmidt and Associate Cathedral Musician Rebekah Gilmore.


(The Interdenominational Chrism Mass on Tuesday in Holy Week, which in certain years is celebrated at Saint Mark's, will this year instead be offered at Phinney Ridge Lutheran Church, April 12, 11 a.m. All are welcome.)


Wednesday, April 13: Wednesday in Holy Week

8:30 a.m.  •  Morning Prayer on Wednesday in Holy Week  •  online via Zoom only


7 p.m.  •  Tenebrae •  cathedral nave and livestreamed

The liturgy of Tenebrae is, for many, a highlight of the liturgical year at Saint Mark's, with its plainchant psalms and laments and a cappella meditations. The liturgy for Wednesday of Holy Week as we have it today was created by combining elements of three prayer offices, originally appointed for Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, containing unique elements that have inspired composers through the centuries. These elements include the chanting of portions of the Book of Lamentations, with its distinctive Hebrew letters at the beginning of each verse, sung responsories which serve as small windows into the Passion narrative, and a complete rendition of Psalm 51, known as the Miserere. It is, in the words of The Book of Occasional Services, "An extended mediation upon, and a prelude to" the events of the Triduum. The word Tenebrae means "darkness" or "shadows," and the most memorable element of the liturgy is the space itself, without electric light, which is in twilight as the service begins and is gradually engulfed by darkness as the service progresses. Music is offered by the adults of Evensong Choir.


Triduum - The Sacred Three Days

The Liturgies of the Triduum—that is, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday in Holy Week—are often considered to be a single liturgy stretched over three days. They trace Jesus' journey to the tomb, gradually increasing in intensity, until the proclamation of the Resurrection at the climax of the Easter Vigil, late Saturday night.


April 14: Maundy Thursday

7 a.m.  •  Morning Prayers on Maundy Thursday  •  online via Zoom only


7 p.m.  •  Maundy Thursday Liturgy  •  cathedral nave and livestreamed

On this night we remember the Last Supper and Jesus' final teachings to his friends. The word "Maundy" comes from the Latin mandatum, meaning "commandment," referring to "The New Commandment," that is, Jesus' commandment to us to "love one another." (The famous text Ubi caritas—"Where charity and love are, God is there"—has its origin in this liturgy.)

This Gospel is followed by a Liturgy of Foot Washing, an enactment of Jesus' gesture of humble service to his followers. At Saint Mark's, it is the tradition to invite the entire congregation to participate in this powerful and intimate act, both washing the feet of others, and allowing your own feet to be washed. It is your choice whether to participate or not.

A service of Holy Eucharist follows the foot washing, after which the ritual Stripping of the Altar is performed. Fundamentally, this ritual is simply preparing the worship space for the next "act" of the Triduum liturgy, since on Good Friday the altar is always kept completely bare. But in the context of the Maundy Thursday, the act takes on profound symbolic resonances, reminding us of the stripping of Jesus before his scourging in the final hours before his death, the preparation of the body of Jesus for his entombment, or even the stripping bare of our own hearts. At Saint Mark's this ritual contains unique elements—you are invited to find your own meaning in this powerful, ambiguous, and unsettling act.

Music for this liturgy is offered by the Saint Mark’s Singers & Senior Choristers.

~8:30 p.m.  •  Night Watch at the Altar of Repose (Cathedral nave by reservation and streamed to YouTube)

The Night Watch at the Altar of Repose will be offered via livestream and in person this year.

After Holy Communion on Maundy Thursday, some of the consecrated bread and wine of the Eucharist are placed on the altar in McCaw chapel, where they may be a focus for prayer and meditation through the night. We remember the agony of Jesus' final night before his crucifixion, and we remember his challenge to the disciples: "Could you not keep awake one hour? Keep awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Mark 14:37–38)

All are invited to spend some time in prayer and stillness before the altar of either from home (streaming live from the nave all night) or in person (in the cathedral until midnight). Spend the time in whatever way feels meaningful to you: meditating, reading scripture or poetry, journaling, knitting or just sitting in silence.

Altar of Repose Online

The virtual Night Watch will be streamed slightly differently than the usual liturgy livestreams. It will be streamed through YouTube only. Soon after the Maundy Thursday liturgy concludes, check the cathedral's YouTube channel for the live video. A short time later, the video will also be embedded in the usual livestream page of the cathedral website—you may need to refresh the page to see it. The stream will continue live until sunrise on Good Friday.

Altar of Repose In Person

If you would like to sign up for an in-person time slot between 8:30 p.m. and midnight please fill out this form. You may sign up for more than one slot, and multiple people can sign up for the same slot.

When you arrive for your time slot, please come to the Hoerster Annex doors (southwest corner of the parking lot) and ring the doorbell. Someone will come to let you in on the hour and the half-hour. (If you arrive at, for example, 10:15, you will need to wait until 10:30 to enter).

April 15: Good Friday

11 a.m.  •  Communal Walking of the Stations of the Cross  •  cathedral nave

Offered in English only, this is a final opportunity to experience this liturgy together with others this year. When we reach Eastertide, the Stations will be put away until next year.


12 p.m.  •  Good Friday Liturgy  •  cathedral nave and livestreamed

7 p.m.  •  Good Friday Liturgy  •  cathedral nave and livestreamed

Recalling the suffering and death of Jesus Christ, the Good Friday liturgy is out-of-joint. On this day, no service of Eucharist is permitted. The Passion—complete story of Jesus' trials, crucifixion, and entombment—is proclaimed. While on Palm/Passion Sunday the Passion narratives of Matthew, Mark, or Luke are read, depending on the year, on Good Friday it is invariably the Passion according to John. At the liturgy at noon, the Passion is read; at 7 p.m., it is chanted by members of the Cathedral Choir.

The Passion is followed by a long series of ancient prayers known as The Solemn Collects. These prayers are traditionally accompanied by a distinctive pattern of standing and kneeling, which becomes a sort of sacred dance. Like the Passion, the Solemn Collects are read at noon and chanted at 7 p.m.

Finally, a large cross is brought into the worship space. All are invited to use this cross as as a prompt to meditate on Jesus' redemptive self-sacrifice. At Saint Mark's, this is known as The Contemplation of the Cross.

At noon, music will be offered by noted Seattle musician and improvisor James Falzone. At 7 p.m. music is offered by the Cathedral Choir, who, for the first time this year, will be joined by the Schola of the Cathedral Choir School.


(It is the tradition at Saint Mark's to offer The Sacrament of Reconciliation, also known as “private confession,” on Good Friday. If this is something you would like, please contact any member of the clergy.)


April 16: Holy Saturday

12:15 p.m.  •  Holy Saturday Liturgy  •  cathedral nave

A short but powerful liturgy is appointed for Holy Saturday in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer, and in recent years it has been the practice at Saint Mark's to offer it in the Chapel of the Resurrection, the space in the crypt where the cathedral columbarium is found. As this is a small space with poor ventilation, the service will be moved to the cathedral nave this year, but to an unfamiliar position within the nave. This change of venue has prompted an expansion and enrichment of the liturgy, with scripture and silence providing space to contemplate both the grief and promise of the tomb.


8:30 p.m.  •  The Great Vigil of Easter  •  cathedral nave and livestreamed

This is most solemn night of the Christian year. We begin in near-total darkness, then the Bishop kindles the New Fire with flint and steel—a primal act of creation and a symbol of the return of light and life. From the New Fire is lit the Paschal Candle, and from the Paschal candle the light is spread to the candles held by each participant. In this way a tiny spark grows to illuminate the entire cathedral.

A cantor standing next to the Paschal candle chants the Exsultet, the church's ancient proclamation of Easter. Then, in candlelight, a Service of Lessons from Hebrew scripture recounts the mighty saving acts of God in the past and his promise of redemption and salvation. In the candlelit space, the scriptures take on some of the quality of "stories told around the campfire."

When the sequence of readings is completed, Baptisms are performed—the Easter Vigil has been an occasion for baptizing new Christians since the earliest centuries of Christianity, connecting the sacrament of new birth to the commemoration of Christ's triumph over death.

At last we reach the climax of the Great Vigil, the culmination of the Triduum and of Holy Week, and indeed the goal of our entire Lenten journey—the Proclamation of the Resurrection. The cathedral is flooded with light and we sing Gloria in excelsis. At Saint Mark's, this moment is accompanied by the opening of the great doors that were closed on Shrove Tuesday—another liturgical element that can experienced nowhere else. In the now-transformed space, we hear the Gospel story of the empty tomb, and celebrate the first Eucharist of Easter. The service concludes with hymns of rejoicing.

Incense is used at this service, and music is offered by the Senior Choristers, the Schola, and the Cathedral Choir.


April 17: Easter Sunday: The Feast of the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ

8:30 a.m. & 11 a.m.  •  Easter Day Liturgy  •  cathedral nave; livestreamed at 11 a.m. only

~10 a.m.  •  Easter Egg Hunt  •  labyrinth/front lawn

The Easter Sunday Liturgy is one of light and joy. The service includes a Renewal of Baptismal Vows. Music will be offered by the Cathedral Choir with organ, brass, percussion, and hand bells. This year, the choir is joined by the brass and percussion for Ye Choirs of New Jerusalem, composed in 1982 by former Saint Mark's Canon Precentor Peter Hallock, especially for this choir and this space. The 8:30 and 11 a.m. services are identical in most ways, although incense will be used at 11 a.m. only.


7 p.m.  •  Contemplative Eucharist on Easter Evening  •  Thomsen Chapel

Dean Thomason will preside, with music offered by Charles Coldwell, recorder.


9:30 p.m.  •  The Office of Compline on Easter   •  cathedral nave

Compline on Easter Sunday always begins with the the canticle Pascha nostrum, sung in procession with hand bells, in a musical setting by the choir's founder, Peter Hallock. The anthem in 2022 will be Jacob Handl's Haec est dies, an exuberant shout of joy.


10 p.m.  •  Organ by Night   •  cathedral nave

Canon Kleinschmidt will offer this month’s Organ by Night music following Compline on Easter Sunday, April 17. As he had planned to do on March 20, but cancelled because of illness, he will play Bach's beloved Passacaglia and Fugue in C Minor, and—as an expression of the unbridled joy of Easter—the famous Toccata from the Fifth Symphony by Charles-Marie Widor.

(On every third Sunday of the month, organists offer 20 minutes of music on the mighty Flentrop organ, and encourage listeners to join them in the gallery to see and hear the organ and organist up close. They are also happy to answer questions about the music and the organ itself.)

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