Every year, the English weather permitting, York Minster holds a Palm Sunday service with a procession through the streets of York, from St Helen's Square in the centre of the city to the Minster. Recalling Jesus’s entry into Jerusalem, the procession is led by Joey the donkey, with the choir singing and worshippers following behind.
|Palm Sunday Procession in York. Photograph: York Mix|
The donkey symbolises how Jesus comes in peace and fulfils the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9. As according to the Gospel of Matthew 21:4-5: ‘all this was done that it might be fulfilled [that] which was spoken by the prophet, saying: ‘Tell ye the daughter of Sion: Behold thy king cometh to thee, meek and sitting upon an ass and a colt, the foal of her that is used to the yoke.’
|Joey the donkey in the Palm Sunday Procession going past the Mansion House. Photograph: York Press|
Joey the donkey comes right into York Minster, presenting the city of York as a symbolic city of Jerusalem and the Minster as the sacred Temple, cleansed by the presence of Christ.
|Joey the donkey going inside the Minster. Photograph: York Press|