churchfrontOn Maundy Thursday, March 24, the First Presbyterian Church of Cazenovia will hold a Service of Tenebrae at 7:30 p.m. Members of the Morrisville Community Church will also participate in the choir. The service will be centered on a choral and narrative piece titled “Tenebrae: Service of Darkness” by Hal H. Hopson. Mary Coburn will be accompanying the choral works on her violin. Mrs. Coburn is the string music teacher to students in grades 4 to 12 and is the Director of the High School Orchestra and String Ensemble.

The dramatic narrative readings are drawn from biblical passion accounts and the Psalms. There will be a celebration of the Lord’s Supper. The cross behind the pulpit will be draped in black.

The sanctuary will be lit by candles that are extinguished after each of the readings. The Service of Tenebrae follows a tradition of the church dating back to the eighth century. The word ‘Tenebrae’ is Latin for shadows or darkness. The service commemorates the final hours of our Lord’s life on earth, as he suffered death upon the cross. Two large candelabras will light the sanctuary at the beginning of the service. Candles will be extinguished as the service evolves, symbolizing the fading loyalty of the disciples and friends of Jesus. The gradual darkening of the church sanctuary portrays the diminishing light of the world as Christ was departing from it.

The service ends in silence with the relighting of the Christ candle. The purpose of the service is to recreate the betrayal, abandonment, and agony of the events leading to Christ’s death and it is left unfinished, because the story isn’t over until Easter Day.

Child Care is available during the service. For more information about the Tenebrae Service or other Easter Season celebrations, contact the First Presbyterian Church of Cazenovia at 655-3191 or visit our website at

By martha

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