Holy Week and Easter were glorious at the Anglican Cathedral in St. John’s this year. After the years of separation and pivoting due to the pandemic, it was truly a blessing to be together.
A service of Tenebrae, meaning “darkness,” was held on Wednesday night. Between antiphons and lessons, all sung by the choir, candles were
extinguished until the building was in near total darkness. Finally, the centre candle, representing Jesus, was removed. A loud noise was heard, and then Christ candle was brought back. This visual depiction of Christ’s desertion by his friends is a powerful way to begin the lead up to Jesus’ death on Good Friday.
Maundy Thursday began with a service primarily for the clergy of the diocese at which they renewed their ordination vows, and at which the holy oils for the coming year were blessed by Bishop Samuel Rose. That evening saw the commemoration of the last supper, which was followed by the stripping of the altar, during which the choir sang from the Lady Chapel.
On Good Friday, the children of the parish met in the morning for the Stations of the Cross, and a dozen faithful gathered to walk the temporary labyrinth late in the afternoon. Some of those who walked also bared and shared their soles. At the labyrinth’s centre, walkers were met with a crown of thorns.
Saturday saw a busy hive of activity as the altar guild spent hours getting the Easter garden, flowers, hangings, and other things all ready for Easter.
On Sunday, Bishop Rose celebrated the Eucharist, preached, and took part in a baptism. All week, the beauty of the building was matched by the solemnity and beauty of the liturgies and music.
The Lord is risen! He is risen indeed. Alleluia!