In the story of Jesus’ life, he had supper with his friends on the night before he died on the cross. At this supper, he told them to share bread and wine to remember him. Ever since, Christians have gathered together in the same way to celebrate the mystery of our faith.
Christians have many names for this celebration – the Eucharist, the Lord’s Supper, the Mass, Holy Communion – but whatever we choose call it, it remains at the centre of all our worship.
When are Eucharist services held?
Normally, the Eucharist takes place every day. From Monday to Saturday, there is a Eucharist at 8.00am and 12.30pm, and on some feast days at 5pm. On Sundays there are Eucharists at 8am, 11.15am, and 5.30pm. You can find more information on the timings of our services in our service calendar.
What can I expect?
At the Cathedral, there are two different ways in which we celebrate the Eucharist. Sung Eucharists usual include hymn singing, music from the choir, and a sermon. Said Eucharists are shorter and do not usually include a sermon or music.
During these services, the congregation will be invited to share in the bread and wine. If you receive communion in your own church, you are welcome to receive communion here. If you do not normally receive communion, you are invited to come forward and receive a blessing.
The main celebration of the Eucharist – on a Sunday, at 11.15am – is the high point of our weekly worship, engaging the senses with sound, colour and movement. This service includes choral music, hymn singing and a sermon, and lasts around 75 minutes. On feast days, the 5pm Sung Eucharist is celebrated in much the same ways. It lasts around 55 minutes and includes the use of incense.
- The weekday 8.00am and 12.30pm services: usually last around 30 minutes. There is no music or sermon at these services.
- The 5.30pm Eucharist on a Sunday: lasts up to 35 minutes. At this service there is usually some quiet organ music and incense is used. This service usually has a more meditative atmosphere.
- The 8am service of Holy Communion on a Sunday: comes from the Book of Common Prayer of 1662. This distinctly Anglican service benefits from the poetry and language of its time.
You do not have to be a practicing member of the Church of England to attend the Eucharist. If you are unfamiliar with the service, you can pick up an easy-to-follow order of service at the beginning, which will guide you through each part. Visit our guidance on attending services at St Paul's for more information on what to expect.