Maundy Thursday Tenebrae Service of Darkness at Cazenovia Presbyterian Church

On Maundy Thursday, April 13, the Cazenovia Presbyterian Church will hold a Service of Tenebrae at 7:30 p.m. The service will be centered on a choral and narrative piece titled “Light In The Darkness” by Patrick Liebergen. This work offers a unique blend of classical Georgian Chants, classical hymns such as Beautiful Savior, What Wondrous Love Is This, and When I Survey the Wondrous Cross. Mary Coburn,

Mary Coburn, string instructor for the Cazenovia School District, will be accompanying the choral works on her violin. The dramatic narrative readings are drawn from biblical passion accounts as well as Psalm 27. There will be a celebration of the Lord’s Supper led by Pastor Tom Oak. 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.

A fully supervised nursery will be available for the Tenebrae Service.

For more information about the Tenebrae Service or other Easter Season celebrations, contact the First Presbyterian Church of Cazenovia at 315-655-3191 or visit our website at

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