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Tenebrae - Three Crosses - Celebrating Easter Week - Michelangelo's Pieta and Much More

Easter offers more than just the traditional Easter service, Easter is a week long time of celebration and reflection. The Tenebrae service is something that can be soul searching and life changing. Below is a synopsis of the Tenebrae service and some of the elements being presented at the Lake Geneva Church in Wisconsin called Chapel on the Hill. The description is provided by one of its members but the essence of this is to consider attending this service in your local area this year. If you have never attended a Tenebrae service, it is something to consider to add to your devotion during the week of Easter. View two magnificent videos in celebration of Easter, see world class art from Michelangelo and learn more about the many different types of services offered during Easter week.

The Power of the Cross Keith & Kristyn Getty

Favorite Quotes from Michelangelo

Genius is eternal patience.

However rich I may have been, I have always lived like a poor man.

I feast on wine and bread, and feasts they are.

I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.

If people knew how hard I have had to work to gain my mastery, it wouldn't seem wonderful at all.

The true work of art is but a shadow of the divine perfection.

The Lamb of God - Twila Paris

Easter Services - Various Types

In addition to the Easter Sunday Service, there is also Palm Sunday, Lent Services and Good Friday Services and also the Tenebrae Service. A little bit more about the Tenebrae service from a devoted church member:

Tenebrae Service:

"I hope you will really consider attending the Tenebrae Service in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin year!

I say this because this is a time YOU can be blessed and BE a blessing to the members of the choir who have been so faithful in their ministry to us throughout the year.

The choir is performing a work called “The Power of the Cross”. This is a portion of what it says on the back cover of the score: …”In this powerful offering from Mark Hayes, we journey with Christ through Holy Week experiencing momentous events that changed history for all of humankind. Mark’s distinctive compositional voice adds to the drama of the work, from the emotional underscore for the narration to inspiring choruses that combine original music with contemporary tunes and traditional hymns. Masterful arrangements of Twila Paris’s Lamb of God and Keith Getty and Stuart Townend’s The Power of the Cross, along with an unforgettable mezzo-soprano solo inspired by Michelangelo’s Pieta, in which we hear the anguish of Mary the mother of Christ, contribute to a truly compelling work for Easter worship…..

The Power of the Cross provides an artful and poignant reminder of Christ’s sacrifice of love, His triumph over death, and His promise of redemption for us all.” It is really beautiful and so full of meaning…..Please join us at 7:30, Friday for the Tenebrae service or any of the other services during Easter week."

Pieta by Michelangelo

Pieta by Michelangelo

Pieta by Michelangelo

Background of the Easter Service Program

Allot of the terms and information and artworks may be foreign to you. All of us have heard of Michelangelo but can we name his top four works? Do we truly understand the history and the visualization that moved Michelangelo to create this masterpiece called " pieta"?

Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni (6 March 1475 – 18 February 1564), whom we all know as simply Michelangelo was an Italian sculptor, poet, engineer, painter, and architect.

Top Four Artistic Achievements by Michelangelo

Michelangelo's Famous Pieta

The Pieta is a famous work by Michelangelo which is carved out of carrerra marble and depicts the body of Christ in the arms of his mother Mary.

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Wikipedia reports: "Michelangelo's interpretation of the Pietà is unique to the precedents. It is an important work as it balances the Renaissance ideals of classical beauty with naturalism."

Famous Quotes About Michelangelo's Pieta

"Michelangelo at 24 years of age, sculpted this Pietà from a single block of marble. I've been fortunate enough to see this with my own eyes; just breathtaking brilliance."


Pietà is one of Michelangelo’s most notable works, perhaps his most famous sculpture in competition with

David, and is often regarded as the greatest sculpture ever created. It was sculpted by Michelangelo between the years of 1498 and 1500, and was likely finished before he had even reached the age of 25."

"The sculpture was so beautiful that it inspired Giorgio Vasari, an Italian painter and biographer, to comment, 'It would be impossible for any craftsman or sculptor no matter how brilliant ever to surpass the grace or design of this work, or try to cut and polish the marble with the skill that Michelangelo displayed.'"

"The word Pieta means pity from the Greek word for "compassion" or "pity" and refers not, as often presumed to this specific work (Michelangelo actually did two other Pietas later in life, both of them unfinished) but to a traditional type of devotional image. The theme of Mary cradling the dead body of Christ in her lap was all but unknown in Italy before Michelangelo made it famous in this statue, but it was a staple in the repertoire of French and German sculptors and painters. Michelangelo, however, rendered the northern theme in a way never before attempted or accomplished."

Michelangelo's Work of Art

Sistine Chapel - Michelangelo Creation of Adam

Sistine Chapel - Michelangelo Creation of Adam

various view of the sculpture by Michelangelo called David

various view of the sculpture by Michelangelo called David

Michelangelo's Last Judgement

Michelangelo's Last Judgement

Tenebrae - Candles Are Extinguished One by One During the Course of the Religious Service

Liturgical - Tenebrae The candles are extinguished one by one during the course of the service.

Liturgical - Tenebrae The candles are extinguished one by one during the course of the service.

Tenebrae - Shadows or Darkness - Religious Service

"Tenebrae (Latin for 'shadows' or 'darkness') is a Christian religious service celebrated within Western Christianity on the evening before or early morning of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday, which are the last three days of Holy Week. The distinctive ceremony of Tenebrae is the gradual extinguishing of candles while a series of readings and psalms is chanted or recited.

Tenebrae services are celebrated by only some parishes of the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church, of the Polish National Catholic Church, of Anglicanism, of other Protestant churches such as Lutheranism, and of Western Rite Orthodoxy within the Eastern Orthodox Church."

Three Crosses by Michelangelo

Three Crosses by Michelangelo in red chalk

Three Crosses by Michelangelo in red chalk

The Power of the Cross - Scenes from the Passion of Christ

Three Crosses - Magnificent Pieces of Art From Around the World

Three Crosses Photograph by Debra and Dave Vanderlaan

Three Crosses Photograph by Debra and Dave Vanderlaan

Cross Scene - Fra Angelico: Crucifixion and Saints, circa 1441-1442. This shows the three crosses. [Web Gallery of Art]

Cross Scene - Fra Angelico: Crucifixion and Saints, circa 1441-1442. This shows the three crosses. [Web Gallery of Art]

Three Crosses in the Convent of San Marco Florence

Three Crosses in the Convent of San Marco Florence

"Crucifixion" by Fra Angelico

"Crucifixion" by Fra Angelico

Fine Art Reproduction Oil Paintings - Commission a Hand Painted Oil Painting copy of The Three Crosses

Fine Art Reproduction Oil Paintings - Commission a Hand Painted Oil Painting copy of The Three Crosses

Poem - The Power of the Cross

"When I look at Your cross
My eyes gush with tears
My heart is faint within me
To see my Lord suffering
To see my Lord in anguish
In the midst of my sadness
I remind myself and say
What a blessed moment
What a blessed day
When You have conquered death away
When You captured Satan and tied him up
When You revealed yourself to everyone
When You sat back on your throne again
Everyone cheered
Everyone rejoiced
You took the blame for me
You claiming me as your child You change my life forever
You gave me all the love that I need
You spared me from ultimate despair
You love me to the point of death
You open the gate for me to have a new life with you
I rejoice again
For the hope is to be with You
Thank You, Lord
For loving me so much"

Written by
Nagwa Abdou

Share Your Easter Traditions

Share your experience. Whether Christian or not, have you ever attended a Tenebrae service? If you are a non-Christian, have you ever attended a Christian service? What your your fondest memories of Easter? Does your family have an Easter tradition you would like to share? Please leave comments, we welcome all denominations and especially non-believers. Remember, one thing, God loves you!

Blessings to you and your family.


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2014 ALL4JESUS


ALL4JESUS (author) from USA on March 25, 2016:


That is beautifully and succinctly explained - thank you! Deciphering the differences between death, resurrection and sacrifice and the redemption are important elements in our understanding.

Jay C OBrien from Houston, TX USA on March 21, 2016:

The death of Jesus (or near death experience) did not directly remove sin; however it was needed for the resurrection. It is the resurrection from the dead (Near Death Experience) which proves an afterlife actually exists. He could not come back from nothing. A place or condition must first exist before there can be a return. If one accepts the resurrection of Jesus, the afterlife or spirit is proved. Once the spirit is proved we should act according to the teachings of Jesus. Until the resurrection there was no objective reason to believe in a spirit at all.

Sacrifice does not and has never removed sin. Jesus taught Forgiveness removes sin. Jesus was Not a blood sacrifice. Sacrifice is an ancient and false custom which is to be renounced.

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