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The name Tenebrae (the Latin word for “darkness” or “shadows”) has for centuries been applied to the ancient monastic night and early morning services of the last three days of Holy Week, which in medieval times came to be celebrated on the preceding evening. Toward the end of the service, this last candle is hidden, typifying the apparent victory of the forces of evil. Suddenly, a loud noise is made, symbolizing the earthquake at the time of the resurrection (Matthew 28:2), the hidden candle is restored to its place, and all depart in silence by the candle’s light.

This service features the singing of Allegri's Miserere Mei, plainchant psalms, and motets sung by members of the Ascension choirs.