The BBC's production of the Manchester Passion , featuring the dramatisation of the last hours of the life of Christ with the lyrics of bands such as Oasis, the Happy Mondays, and The Smiths, gave Easter a huge boost according to the Bishop of Manchester.
Staged in Albert Square on Good Friday and attracting a crowd of 8,000, it retold the betrayal and crucifixion of Jesus through Manchester's music.
It came in the tradition of the York Mystery Plays, where popular culture was incorporated into the Biblical drama.
The one-hour show, broadcast live on BBC 3, saw the highest figures for the channel for an arts programme with more than 500,000 people tuning in and a further 600,000 watched the repeat on BBC 2. A spokesman said the corporation had received hundreds of letters heaping praise on the production.
The performance was a contemporary retelling of Jesus's final hours featuring the music of bands such as Joy Division, The Smiths, Oasis and James. It culminated in an eight metre cross being carried into the square - before Jesus sang "I am the resurrection" by the Stone Roses on the roof of Manchester Town Hall.
The Manchester Passion was supported by Nigel McCullogh, the Bishop of Manchester, who told the Manchester Evening News that the following Easter Sunday had been the busiest in his experience at Manchester Cathedral.
He said: "At one point there was standing room only. It was the largest congregation I have ever seen and what the Manchester Passion has done is raise the profile of the Easter story and engage an audience who may not have been aware of it before.
"It drew together a cross section of the city and that was quite an achievement. It made a real impact on Manchester."
Bishop McCullogh, who was there on the night, said: "I thought it was a brilliant production. It was highly effective and there were some stunning moments.
"The way in which the resurrection was done from the town hall roof was very moving and will stay with me and I am sure many other people for a very long time.
"The look on the crowd's faces was I think not dissimilar to the way they would have looked 2,000 years ago at the resurrection itself.
"What it demonstrated was the story of the passion and the resurrection is still very powerful."