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date: 21 January 2020

Little Hourslocked

  • Ruth Steiner
  • , revised by Keith Falconer


Services in the Divine Office held at regular intervals during the day. Various early Christian writers advocated prayer or other devotions at the third, sixth and ninth hours of the day according to the Roman reckoning (i.e. at approximately 9 a.m., 12 noon and 3 p.m.). These same hours were important in the secular affairs of Ancient Roman cities and were often marked by the sounding of a bell; they also played a role in Jewish observances and quickly acquired religious significance (usually allegorical symbolism) in early Christian writings. The Spanish nun Egeria described services held in Jerusalem at the third, sixth and ninth hours. Later Western usage named these hours Terce, Sext and None. Prime, the fourth of the Little Hours in the Western tradition, is held at daybreak after Lauds; its origins are disputed but may be Eastern, if the service mentioned in a controversial passage in the ...

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