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St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church<br>Atlanta, Georgia
Holy Week Opportunities


The name Tenebrae (the Latin word for "darkness" or "shadows") has for centuries been applied to the ancient monastic night and early morning services (Matins and Lauds) of the last three days of Holy Week, which in medieval times came to be celebrated on the preceding evening. Along with the reading of scripture, the most conspicuous feature of the service is the gradual extinguishing of candles and other lights in the church until only a single candle, considered a symbol of Christ, remains. As the darkness increases, members of the congregation are encouraged to forgo following the readings in the printed bulletin and simply to sit and listen to the readers. Toward the end of the service even this single candle is hidden, symbolizing the apparent victory of the forces of evil. At the very end, a loud noise is made—symbolizing the earthquake at the time of the resurrection—the hidden candle is restored to its place, and by its light all depart in silence.

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