What is a Tenebrae Service?
The word ‘tenebrae’ is Latin for “shadows” or “darkness”. The purpose of the Tenebrae service is to recreate the emotional aspects of the passion story. The object of the service is to recreate the betrayal, abandonment, and agony of the final episodes in the human life of Jesus Christ.
The Tenebrae is an ancient Christian Good Friday observance that makes use of gradually diminishing light through the extinguishing of candles to symbolize the events of the Jesus’s final hours from the Lord’s supper, His arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane, the trial, conviction and crucifixion. The service is left unfinished as the worshipers leave in silence to contemplate the impact of Christ’s death and await the coming Resurrection.
The story isn’t over until the celebration of Christ’s resurrection on Easter Sunday.