On Tuesday, 4th April at Holy Trinity Church, we will pray the ancient Office of Tenebrae, a service of psalms and hymns lit by candlelight.
With a dimly-lit church, a rarely-seen candle holder, sombre tones, and a candle hidden away, Tenebrae is a unique and special liturgy in the calendar of the Roman Catholic Church. The name Tenebrae comes from the Latin word for “darkness” or “shadows”.
A major feature of the service is the progressive extinguishing of candles as the psalms and readings progress, until only a single candle —a symbol of Christ—remains. For a brief time towards the end of the service we remain in darkness, meditating upon the mystery of Christ’s death and the apparent victory of darkness and evil in our lives, only to be startled by a loud noise—the “strepitus”—symbolising the earthquake at the time of the Resurrection.
It is a beautiful and moving service that draws us into the depths of Holy Week as the candles are slowly extinguished reminding us of the darkness of the Passion and Cross as we await the light of the Resurrection. So join the parish on Holy Tuesday evening to pray and to enter more fully into Holy Week.