Thursday, 1 April 2010

Mandy Thursday Evening - Tenebrae for Good Friday

At the usual time Compline is recited on a monotone, as the Little Hours this morning. Again its form is absolute simplicity beginning with the Confiteor and the usual psalms, Nunc dimittis and then Christus factus est, Miserere and Respice as before. Note that only Christus factus est pro nobis obediens usque ad mortem is said at Compline, as Compline still is part of Mandy Thursday.

Tenebrae for Good Friday follows Compline, or after a short gap. In practice Compline can be chanted in the time it takes to light the altar candles and candles on the Tenebrae hearse. The service is structurally the same as that sung for Maundy Thursday and the differences will be noted.

The choir altar is as it was after stripping this morning with six candlesticks and altar Cross veiled now in black (preferably) or violet. At Mattins the first antiphon is Astiterunt reges. The psalms are strictly proper: in the first nocturn Pss. 2, 21 & 26; in the second nocturn Pss. 37, 39 & 53; and, in the third nocturn Pss. 58, 87 & 93. After the last verse of each psalm a candle is exstinguished on the hearse. The Lamentations of Jeremy form the first nocturn lessons. The second nocturn lessons are again from St. Augustine on the psalms and in the third nocturn from St. Paul to the Hebrews.

Lauds follow from Mattins beginning with the antiphon Proprio Filio suo etc. Psalms 50, 142, 84, Domine audivi auditionem & 147. The antiphon on the Benedictus is Posuerunt super caput ejus etc, sung to the same tone as last night and doubled. Exactly the same ceremonies take place as last night. When the Christus factus est is sung Mortem autem crucis is added.

After Tenebrae in Cathedral and larger churches the Ceremonial Washing of the Altars takes place. The bare mensae ar ewashed with a mixture of water and wine and the surface scoured with brushes and dried with towels whilst Diviserunt and psalm 21 is monotoned. After this service Christus factus est ... Mortem autem crucis is added.

In the 1962 liturgical books 'Tenebrae', or should it be called 'Lucernariae', celebrated tomorrow morning, runs into the problem that the choir altar has no candles upon it to extinguish during the Benedictus! In practice many 1962ists cheat and add candlesticks for their service.


Mark said...

In practice many 1962ists cheat and add candlesticks for their service.

What do you mean by that, Rubricarius? The usual sources call for the candles to be present.

Can you explain, for I'm lost...

Rubricarius said...


The authors on ceremonial say the candlesticks are not present in the EF of the new rite for Good Friday. The altar is completely bare. For 'Tenebrae' of Holy Saturday four candlesticks, those from the end of the communion service remain on the altar, but on Good Friday morning there are no candlesticks.

c.f. Fortescue, Stehle.

Mark said...

Thanks for the info. I asked because Trimeloni asks for candles, and Fortescue/O'Connell is vague enough to imply candles.

What's Stehle?

Rubricarius said...


I don't have Fortescue-O'Connell with my in London but from memory the 12th edition says something like 'there are no candlesticks on Good Friday'.

Stehle-Rettger, 'Manual of Episcopal Ceremonies'. It is now available in 1962 form - I only have the old form. A distinguished practitioner from the USA assures me that " Stehle-Rettger also has no candles for Matins and Lauds of Good Friday, and 4 candlesticks for those of Holy Saturday."

A friend from the London Oratory checked the 'Customary' there last year and noted a sacristan had written "no candlesticks for Tenebrae on Good Friday, four for Holy Saturday", confirming the above. I understand that the Oratory has now restored the use of six candlesticks.

A copy of the '1962' Liber Usualis I have states on Good Friday: " At Matins The altar should be completely bare, and without crucifix and candles."

BTW, a happy Easter Octave to you.

Mark said...

Fantastic! Thank you for all the sources!

Happy Easter Octave indeed; God bless!