Tenebræ Service, Schola Cantorum of St. Matthew's

Wed., April 4, 2012 7:30pm ·

The Schola Cantorum leads the cathedral community and friends in the ancient, time-honored Liturgy of Tenebræ,including the singing of the Lamentations and a new setting of Velum Templi.

The Tenebræ Service is a composite form of the traditional Liturgy of the Hours celebrated late in Holy Week. In it, members of the Cathedral Schola Cantorum will lead the assembly in the singing of psalms and canticles and chant the traditional Lamentions of Jeremiah. 

Following the each of the psalms, choral responsories will be sung by the entire Schola, including Eram Quasi Agnus (I am as an  Innocent Lamb Led to Slaughter) and Adoramus Te (We Adore You, O Christ) by Orlando de Lassus,  O Vos Omnes (O All You Who Pass This Way) by Carlo Gesualdo, and a new, evocative composition by Paul Nicholson, Velum Templi (The Veil of the Temple was Torn).

The Cathedral Lectors will proclaim two readings from the Letter to the Hebrews followed by an ancient homily by a 4th century bishop, St Epiphanius of Cyprus.

While the 15 candles of the hearse or candelabra are gradually extinguished throughout the service, the traditional Strepitus is sounded in the total darkness created when the Paschal candle is taken from the  sanctuary recalling Christ death.

The entire liturgy is sung without accompaniment indicating the sober and solemn character of the period of the church’s liturgical life we will enter over the next three days. Come to experience this unique and rarely celebrated ancient rite.