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TENEBRAE / ANASTASIS
ancient traditions in the church, are they coming back?


CHRIST REACHING FOR ADAM AND EVE

 ~ ANCIENT TRADITIONS ~

ARE THEY RETURNING?
"The byzantine fresco (above) of the Anastasis (Greek: the Resurrection of Christ) is located in the Chora Church in Istanbul.  Dated 1315. Christ, who had just broken down the gates of hell in death, is standing in the middle and pulling Adam and Eve out of their tombs. Behind Adam stand St. John the Baptist, King David and Solomon. Others are righteous kings." (from Wikimedia Commons Click icon for more information)
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EPHESIANS 5:14

  AWAKE, O SLEEPER, AND ARISE FROM THE DEAD AND CHRIST WILL GIVE YOU LIGHT 
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APOSTLES CREED AND A MYSTERY?
The Apostles Creed defines our belief system, (formed before 150 AD) and named after the first christians. It is traditionally divided into twelve articles: 
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1. I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.    2. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.  3.   He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary.    4. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.   5. He descended to the dead.  ---------  On the third day he rose again.   6. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.   7. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.   8. I believe in the Holy Spirit,    9. the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints,    10. the forgiveness of sins,    11. the resurrection of the body,    12. and life everlasting. 

BUT WHERE DID HE GO? AND WHY?
But where was he after the crucifixion until the third day? Where did he go and what was he doing before he rose again?  There were vague comments afloat but nothing in the liturgy of the church seemed to exist for the laity.  Why such a secret?  Researching brought forth something interesting. In some interpretations of the creed it speaks of The 'Harrowing of Hell'.

EPHESIANS  4 - 8 
  Therefore, it says: "He ascended on high and took prisoners captive; he gave gifts to men." 9  What does "he ascended" mean except that he also descended into the lower (regions) of the earth?  10  The one who descended is also the one who ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things. 
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HARROWING OF HELL
(Latin: Descensus Christi ad Inferos "the descent of Christ into hell") is a doctrine in Christian theology referenced in the Apostles' Creed  ---  As an image in Christian art, the harrowing is also known as the Anastasis (a Greek word for "resurrection"), considered a creation of Byzantine culture and first appearing in the West in the early 8th century.

SEARCH ROSARY WORKSHOP


some great links, dont miss! a 
  TENEBRAE   -  OUR TENEBRAE EXPERIENCE
AN ANCIENT HOMILY   -    ANASTASIS
few more for your perusal
 WITNESS   -   WHAT HAPPENED?
VARIATIONS IN ART   -   RESPONSES

 


 ~ TENEBRAE ~
 WHAT IS TENEBRAE ?
TENEBRAE:  (darkness, shadow) A powerful service usually after dark on the Eve of Good Friday during Easter Triduum.  This past Easter was our first opportunity to attend this service thanks to our priest, Father Corey. It is an ancient liturgy dating back at least to the 7th or 8th century using Lamentations of Jeremiah and Psalms. Almost all of the service is from from Scripture. Although the choice of readings may differ in other denominational and non denominational churches, in the catholic Church during the Holy Easter Triduum, Matins - the priest's Daily Office of Readings includes the Ancient Greek Homily about Adam and Eve.
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THE HOLY EASTER TRIDUUM
(The extinguishing and lighting of the candles, one by one)
During the Easter Triduum we celebrate Holy Thursday and during the day, Good Friday services when the church lays stripped and bare until Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday eve. The Tenebrae service fills that empty space in the dark on good Friday eve when altar candles are extinguished one by one. 
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Then, on Holy Saturday eve, when the priest enters the darkened church from the back with the lighted Paschal (Easter) candle, he chants, "Christ our light" and we respond, "Thanks be to God" three times. Then our little individually held candles are lit one by one from the Paschal candle and the church slowly begins to awaken to new life in the resurrected Savior, overcoming the darkness.




 ~ OUR TENEBRAE EXPERIENCE ~
 
ON GOOD FRIDAY 
WE ENTERED THE DARK CHURCH IN SILENCE
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OUR TENEBRAE EXPERIENCE
 ON GOOD FRIDAY EVE, WE ENTERED THE CHURCH.  IT WAS DARK WITH EXCEPTION OF LIGHTED CANDLES IN A CANDELABRA ON THE ALTAR.  IT FORMED AN INVERTED 'V'. (We found out later this candelabra was traditionally called the 'hearse' as is tied into the tradition of the funeral or death, in this case, the death of Christ. The traditional number of candles is 15 but it also varies. The 15 candles represent the 12 apostles, the 2 Marys and Christ as the top candle. When 12 candles are used, they symbolize the apostles and as they are extinguished, represent their denial as they left the side of Christ.
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FATHER ENTERS WITH 2 SERVERS AND A READER. READINGS FROM PSALMS, LAMENTATIONS AND HEBREWS BEGIN. FATHER SINGS A RESPONSE, AND AFTER EACH, 2 CANDLES ON THE CANDELABRA ARE SNUFFED OUT. The servers begin at the bottom and work up.  The church grows darker and darker until all are extinguised except for one which is then hidden from site. It is very quiet.
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NEXT, AN ANCIENT GREEK HOMILY, A READING FROM THE DAILY OFFICE OF READINGS DURING THE HOLY EASTER TRIDUUM, IS READ: 

AN ANCIENT HOMILY

   "Something strange is happening – there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept since the world began. God has died in the flesh and hell trembles with fear."
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"He has gone to search for our first parent, as for a lost sheep. Greatly desiring to visit those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, he has gone to free from sorrow the captives Adam and Eve, --- He took him by the hand and raised him up, saying: “Awake, O sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will give you light. (Ephesians 5:14) ---" 
 To read complete ancient homily,
  CONTINUE BELOW:

RESPICE FINEM - STREPITUS ('loud noise')
 IN THE SILENCE, AND AFTER THE READINGS, WE WERE JOLTED BY A LOUD NOISE: (Strepitus: We learned the noise symbolized several events over the centuries: 1. The stone rolling across the entrance of the tomb.  2. The tearing of the veil in the temple from top to bottom.  3. Terror and confusion over the death of Jesus Christ.  4. Or the convulsion of nature following the death of the Creator, the Earthquake.
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Over the centuries we learn, the noise was created either by an organ, people slamming their books on the pews or stomping their feet, stopping only when: 

THE LIGHTED CANDLE, THAT HAD BEEN HIDDEN UNDER THE ALTAR, WAS BROUGHT FORTH FOR ALL TO SEE. (the symbol that Christ lives, the resurrection (ANASTASIS) the beginning of the Easter celebration. 
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THE READER, SERVERS AND FATHER LEAVE.  THE CEREMONY IS OVER. IT IS SILENT. WE QUIETLY FOLLOWED IN THE COVER OF DARKNESS --- yet with hope as the candle of the living Christ on the altar lights the way with so many thoughts to ponder. ---- 




 ~ AN ANCIENT HOMILY ~
THE ANCIENT HOMILY IN FULLNESS
Something strange is happening – there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept since the world began. God has died in the flesh and hell trembles with fear.
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He has gone to search for our first parent, as for a lost sheep. Greatly desiring to visit those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, he has gone to free from sorrow the captives Adam and Eve, he who is both God and the son of Eve. The Lord approached them bearing the cross, the weapon that had won him the victory. At the sight of him, Adam, the first man he had created, struck his breast in terror and cried out to everyone: “My Lord be with you all.” Christ answered him: “And with your spirit.” He took him by the hand and raised him up, saying: “Awake, O sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.
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EPHESIANS 5:14
  14  ---- "Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light. 
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  “I am your God, who for your sake have become your son. Out of love for you and for your descendants I now by my own authority command all who are held in bondage to come forth, all who are in darkness to be enlightened, all who are sleeping to arise. I order you, O sleeper, to awake. I did not create you to be held a prisoner in hell. Rise from the dead, for I am the life of the dead. Rise up, work of my hands, you who were created in my image. Rise, let us leave this place, for your are in me and I am in you; together we form only one person and we cannot be separated.
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ICON; State Russian Museum, Sankt Petersburg, 1405-1504
  For your sake, I, your God, became your son; I, the Lord, took the form of a slave; I, whose home is above the heavens, descended to the earth and beneath the earth. For your sake, for the sake of man, I became like a man without help, free among the dead. For the sake of you, who left a garden, I was betrayed to the Jews in a garden, and I was crucified in a garden.
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“See on my face the spittle I received in order to restore to you the life I once breathed into you. See there the marks of the blows I received in order to refashion your warped nature in my image. On my back see the marks of the scourging I endured to remove the burden of sin that weighs upon your back. See my hands, nailed firmly to a tree, for you who once wickedly stretched out your hand to a tree.
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“I slept on the cross and a sword pierced my side for you who slept in paradise and brought forth Eve from your side. My side has healed the pain in yours. My sleep will rouse you from sleep in Hell. The sword that pierced me has sheathed the sword that was turned against you.
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“Rise, let us leave this place. The enemy led you out of the earthly paradise. I will not restore you to that paradise, but I will enthrone you in heaven. I forbade you the tree that was only a symbol of life, but see, I who am life itself am now one with you. I appointed cherubim to guard you as slaves are guarded, but now I make them worship you as God. The throne formed by cherubim awaits you, its bearers swift and eager. The bridal chamber is adorned, the banquet is ready, the eternal dwelling places are prepared, the treasure houses of all good things lie open. The kingdom of heaven has been prepared for you from all eternity.
   



 ~ ANASTASIS - RESURRECTION  ~
 
   AWAKE O SLEEPER
 Anastasis (Greek for Resurrection), the descent of Christ into Hell, is the theme of the icon that inspired this egg painted in 1988.  It symbolizes the promise of resurrection in the Eastern Russian (Orthodox Byzantine) Church. Christ is shown pulling Adam up and Eve awaits - from their graves to their resurrection. 
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EPHESIANS 5:14
  14  ---- "Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light. 
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THE LORD DESCENDS INTO HELL
He has gone to search for our first parent, as for a lost sheep. Greatly desiring to visit those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, he has gone to free from sorrow the captives Adam and Eve, he who is both God and the son of Eve.  The Lord approached them bearing the cross, the weapon that had won him the victory.  At the sight of him, Adam, the first man he had created, struck his breast in terror and cried out to everyone: “My Lord be with you all.”  Christ answered him: “And with your spirit.”  He took him by the hand and raised him up, saying:  “Awake, O sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.” (From an ancient homily on Holy Saturday)
THE EASTER EGG IS A SYMBOL OF NEW LIFE
 THE DESCENT 
OF CHRIST INTO HELL
It is believed this sacred icon image dates back to the late 7th century, evolving into its final form in the 11th century. Tradition shared in the image is that of Christ descending into that part of hell called 'Limbo' (not the hell of the damned). This Limbo of the Fathers ( Limbus Patrum ) was also called the 'Bosom of Abraham' or 'Paradise' where the gates to heaven were closed until the redemption of Christ.
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Here Christ descends to Hell and proclaims the Good News to those imprisoned. At his feet are the remnants of the broken doors of the underworld, looking very much like the cross. He takes the hand of Adam, then of Eve. 
 PHILIPPIANS 2:7-11 
  7. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness;  and found human in appearance, 8.  he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross.  9.  Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name,  10.  that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11.  and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. 
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~ A WITNESS ~
 HOW THE EGG CAME TO ME!
  The Russian name for the icon painted on the egg is Anastasis a depiction of the resurrection. The style of icon art  is from the first half of the sixteenth century school of Novgorod once the cultural center of Russia. 

This egg was painted in Russia 21 years ago.  How did I get it?  There was a Russian fair in our mall; and they were selling goods from Russia to get money to take back to their families.  I greeted one young man in Russian and commented on his beautiful icons and told him I had been trained to write icons like these.  I had on my clergy dress. 
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Alexander asked if he could talk to me in private.  This surprised me [as] the iron curtain and *Berlin wall was still up. I knew he could be punished if his Russian friends reported him for talking to clergy.  In private he asked if I had a Holy Bible in Russian because his mother badly wanted to read that book before she died.  I told him I could meet him at his table the next day with the Bible.  We went back to his table and I asked about the price of that icon egg.  Alexander said, "no you never pay." He whispered,  "Just bring me the Bible please."
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When I returned the next day Alexander lit up with excitement.  He gave me a note that read "Do you have the Holy book?"  I nodded yes. He motioned for me to say nothing. He pulled me to the food court and back into the men's room.  I gave him the Russian Bible.  He took the Bible and hid it in a pocket sewn inside his pants.  He tried to get me to name a price for the Bible which I refused to state.  We left and returned to his table. 
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Not to be out done by my great gift he offered me any thing on his table.  I took nothing and then gave me this egg as a gift.  He kissed me and wept and said now I shall not be ashamed to meet the Lord Jesus I have His Word.  I gave him my address and he wrote several months later and said his Mother was very pleased.  In his village his family had people coming to his mother's home to copy this Bible by hand.  + Blessings, Fr. Joe

*This entry is being uploaded on the 20th anniversary of the Berlin Wall coming down. November 9, 2009. (We love the way God's work, comes around!)



WHAT HAPPENED 
AFTER JESUS BREATHED HIS LAST?
The Passover lambs had been sacrificed in every Jewish home. The Lord of Glory the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ had taken in His heart all of the sins of mankind on the alter of His blood stained cross. When Jesus Christ died on the cross; darkness covered the whole earth, the earth quake caused the mount the cross stood on to split in two.  Tradition states that Adam the first man had been buried on Mt. Calvary so the very first sinners along with Mother Eve was redeemed by the precious blood of the Savior.
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The real Passover, the true deliverace was celebrated in the compartment of Hell called Paradise where the souls of the just who died since the beginning of the world were being detained. At that moment when the Lord Jesus breathed his last.  The soul of the Lord Jesus descended into this compartment of Hell to announce the glad tidings of mankind’s redemption, to tell those there they would soon rise in triumph following Christ to Heaven.  When the Lord Jesus had risen from the dead on His Ascension all of these redeemed and resurrected people escorted our Lord to His throne in heaven.
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We too who place our faith in and live for our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ will too one day join these saints and others in heaven when Christ resurrects us from the dead.   Shared by Father Joe 

PSALM 16:9 -10

  9 Therefore my heart is glad, my soul rejoices; my body also dwells secure, 10 For you will not abandon me to Sheol, nor let your faithful servant see the pit.




~ VARIATIONS ~
 VICTORY OVER DEATH
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This crucifix with a large skull at its base is an exceptional example of the visual tradition of victory over death. Believed to be originally seen on the internet through the collection of Joseph Perez and his mom Berta of Church Woman Antiques (Ebay) - with many thanks! For more information, visit ADAM

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   EPHESIANS 2:1-10
  1  You were dead in your transgressions and sins   2  in which you once lived following the age of this world,  following the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the disobedient.  3  All of us once lived among them in the desires of our flesh, following the wishes of the flesh and the impulses, and we were by nature children of wrath, like the rest. 
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4  But God, who is rich in mercy, because of the great love he had for us, 5  even when we were dead in our transgressions, brought us to life with Christ 5 (by grace you have been saved), 6  raised us up with him, and seated us with him in the heavens in Christ Jesus,  7  that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 
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8  For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God;  9 it is not from works, so no one may boast. 10  For we are his handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for the good works that God has prepared in advance, that we should live in them
   




~ RESPONSES ~
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ONE OF MY ALL TIME FAVORITES
Oh my gosh, the Tenebrae service has to be one of my all-time favorites, yet I practically dread it every year because it's so profoundly moving! 
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We don't do the part with the final candle brought forth -- the church simply descends into darkness as the candles are extinguished one by one after each reading, and the readings trail off into silence, and we're finally left to wander out -- feeling utterly lost and alone. 
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At least that's how I feel, and I COMPLETELY sympathize with the impulse to light a candle and carry it out with me! If I had that opportunity, I'd grab it and somebody'd have to wrestle that candle out of my hand! + Laura

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LETTING MARY KNOW 
HOW SORRY WE ARE
I absolutely love Tenebre and even put together a bilingual Spanish / English
service a few years ago. 
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Another Hispanic service sometimes done on Good Friday is the Condolences to
Mary. It's simply praying silently before a statue or picture of Mary and an opportunity to let her know how sorry I am that her son has died. The first year I did this service I almost found it overwhelming. I had people light candles around her and take them home. I had to literally stand by the door to make sure people didn't try to take lit candles home. + En paz,  Annette

 BRINGING TOGETHER 
BORROWED CANDLE HOLDERS
The Tenebrae service is very moving and I have lead these services in just about every hospital chapel in our area.  I have a large alter cross that I have used in these services.  Bringing together borrowed candle holders for this service has meant much to the people that have joined in these services.  For the hearse 15 candle holder I have a simple wooden inverted v steps made out of wood and gold leafed. + Father Joseph

REVISIONS OVER THE YEARS
Tenebrae does not always include the ancient readings re Adam and Eve, and as late as 1955 the Holy Father revised some changes. In the catholic church,Tenebrae was abandoned in 1977, but remained sporadic in denominational and non-denominal churches. The Orthodox Churches (Russian and Greek) have carried the richest and strongest tradition of Tenebrae and Anastasis for centuries into today.
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But it appears Tenebrae is taking on new life. We chose to use the ancient readings and the Anastasis because of the powerful sense of Gods forgiving love is so present.  And - our first experience this past Easter included the ancient homily readings (above) which include Christ bringing Adam and Eve out of the pit. We hope you too are touched with the fullness of Gods forgiving love as were we.  RW





SEARCH ROSARY WORKSHOP


some great links, dont miss! 
NY TIMES 1872 - TENEBRAE
ESSAY ON ADAM UNDER CALVARY - Fr Bagatti OFM
A great link showing the 1st century 
rocky terrain where Christ Was Buried. 
CHAPLE OF ADAM (Church of Holy Sepulchre) Jerusalem
GOLGATHA CROSS SECTION MAP
more information
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