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The word "Tenebrae" comes from the Latin word for "darkness."  Tenebrae is an ancient Holy Week practice in which there is a gradual diminishing of light throughout the service to symbolize the events of Christ's sufferings from the triumphal Palm Sunday entry to Jesus' death and burial.

This increasing darkness is meant to symbolize the approaching darkness of Jesus' death and the hopelessness of a world without God. The service concludes in darkness, and the worshipers are invited then to leave in silence to contemplate the impact of Christ's death and anticipate His coming Resurrection.