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Tenebrae: Good Friday

Tenebrae: Good Friday

Although the name of the ‘Tenebrae’ service (Matins and Lauds during the Triduum) derives from the extinguishing of the candles, leaving the church in darkness (tenebrae in Latin), it is also the name of one of the chants used. Tenebrae factae sunt, meaning ‘darkness fell’, uses texts from the Gospel accounts of the Crucifixion (Matthew 27:45-46; John 19:30; Luke 23:46).

This recording was made during this morning’s service in the church at the Priory of the Holy Spirit, Oxford. The text is given in Latin and English below.


Tenebrae factae sunt, dum crucifixissent Jesum: 
et circa horam nonam exclamavit Jesus voce magna: 
Deus meus, Deus meus, ut quid me dereliquisti?
Et inclinato capite, emisit spiritum.

Cum ergo accepisset acetum, dixit:
Consummatum est.

Et inclinato capite, emisit spiritum.

Darkness fell when they crucified Jesus:
and about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice:
My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
And bowing his head he gave up the ghost.

And when he had received the vinegar, he said:
It is finished.

And he bowed his head and gave up the ghost.

Matthew Jarvis OP

Fr Matthew Jarvis is currently studying Patristics at the Catholic University of Lyon.
matthew.jarvis@english.op.org