HOURS – Divine service of the Church appointed for different hours of the day. Prime (First Hour), consisting of Psalms and prayers is read after Vespers and Matins; Terse (Third Hour) is read before Divine Liturgy, also Sext (Sixth Hour). None (Ninth Hour) is read before Vespers, or Compline.
These “hours” conform generally to the hours of six and nine in the morning, noon, and three in the afternoon, the hours after sunrise. The services consist mostly of psalms which are generally related to the events in the passion of Christ which took place at that particular hour of the day. The Third Hour also refers to the coming of the Holy Spirit to the disciples on Pentecost.
The troparia of the given day or of the feast being celebrated are added to the Hours. During the first days of Holy Week as well as on certain major feasts, the Gospel is also read during the Hours. On days when there is no Divine Liturgy, the so-called Typical Psalms which include elements of the Divine Liturgy such as the liturgical psalms, the Beatitudes, and the Creed are read after the Ninth Hour.
- In the First Hour we thank God for the light of day which he has given to us, and pray him that we may pass the day without sin. According to the ecclesiastical reckoning, the First Hour corresponds with the present seven o’clock in the morning.
- In the Third Hour we commemorate the Descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles on the day of Pentecost. It corresponds to the pre- sent nine o’clock in the morning.
- In the Sixth Hour, corresponding to twelve o’clock (noon), the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ is commemorated.
- The Ninth Hour, corresponding to three o’clock in the afternoon, commemorates the death of Jesus Christ, our Lord.