There has not been a Service of Tenebrae at the Pro-Cathedral for decades. THIS Wednesday promises to be a special and moving liturgy.
The ancient Service of Tenebrae anticipates the monastic offices for the last three days of Holy Week. Tenebrae means shadows or darkness and refers to the gradual extinguishing of candles and light as the service proceeds, until only one candle remains. Its light, too, is hidden, and a loud noise, the strepitus, is made symbolizing the death of Christ, his descent to the dead, and the earthquake at the time of the resurrection. Upon the return of the one candle, everyone leaves in silence. The Tenebrae Hearse at the Pro-Cathedral has been dusted down, sequence of events has been rehearsed and the choristers are very excited about the strepitus and have even been given permission to bang their books increasingly loudly until the one lit candle is returned. Here is the Hearse in the flower room being prepared for Wednesday's liturgy: