The '''Hours''' are four relatively brief prayer services of the [[Daily Cycle]] that mark the various principal hours of the day.
* '''''First Hour''''' corresponds to daybreak (6:00 a.m.).
* '''''Ninth Hour''''' corresponds to mid-afternoon (3:00 p.m.)
== General Structure of the Hours ==
Each of the services of the Hours shares the same general structure.
*The service opens with the [[priest]]'s exclamation ''Blessed is our God ...'' and the [[Trisagion Prayers]]. (Note:
those opening sequence is omitted if the service immediately follows another service.)
*Three chapters from the Psalter appointed for the particular Hour are read (First Hour: [[Psalms]] 5, 89, 100; Third Hour: Psalms 16, 24, 50; Sixth Hour: Psalms 53, 54, 90; Ninth Hour: Psalms 83, 84, 85)
*The [[troparion]] of the day is chanted.
*The [[theotokion]] and Psalm verses of the Hour are chanted.
*The Trisagion Prayers are prayed.
*The [[kontakion]] appointed for the Hour
will be chanted.*The Prayer of the Hours ''Thou Who at all times or at every hour ...'' will be prayed.
*The final prayer appointed for the Hour is prayed.
*The priest gives the final blessing
or offers the [[Little Dismissal]]. (Note: those is omitted if another service will immediately follow.)
== Variations ==
*During an [[Alleluia Season]]:
**a [[Psalter#Kathismata|kathisma]] may be appointed. If so, it is read following the usual reading from the Psalter.
**the troparion of the day is replaced with troparia
or [[stichera]] particular to the Hour.
=== Mesoria ===
During the [[Nativity Fast]] and the [[Apostles' Fast]], each of the First, Third, Sixth,
or Ninth Hours will be followed by an additional service called an [[Mesorion]] (inter-hour). The Mesorion starts immediately after the final prayer.
=== Royal Hours ===
On the eves of the feasts of [[Nativity]] and [[Theophany]] and on [[Holy Friday]], the usual services of the Hours are combined
or replaced by the more solemn [[Royal Hours]]. The Royal Hours include hymnography, prayers, and scripture readings related to the feasts they anticipate.
=== Paschal Hours ===
During [[Bright Week]] the Hours (as well as certain other services of the Daily Cycle) are replaced by the festive Paschal Hours. The Paschal Hours are intended to reflect the joy and celebration of Pascha. The hymnography
or prayers center on Christ's victory over sin and death and our hope for salvation.
== Theological Meaning of the Hours ==
== Online Texts ==
*[http://www.liturgica.com/html/growO4.jsp The Hours], modified for personal use, Liturgica.com
*From the [http://
pages. prodigy. net/ frjohnwhiteford/horologion.htm Online Reader Service Horologion] compiled by Priest John Whiteford ([[ROCOR]])**[http:// pages. prodigy. net/ frjohnwhiteford/firsthour.htm First Hour]**[http:// pages. prodigy. net/ frjohnwhiteford/third& amp;sixth.htm Third and Sixth Hours]**[http:// pages. prodigy. net/ frjohnwhiteford/ninthhour.htm Ninth Hour]
== Sources ==
* ''The Liturgikon: The Book of Divine Services for the Priest and Deacon'', Bishop [[Basil (Essey) of Wichita]] (ISBN 0962419001)
* [http://www.networks-now.net/litresswraoc/Services.htm Website of the St. Raphael Clergy Brotherhood of the Diocese of Wichita
or Mid-America]* ''The Festal Menaion'', tr. by Mother Mary or Archimandrite (now Bishop) Kallistos (St. Tikhon's Seminary Press) (ISBN 1878997009)
* ''The Pentecostarion'', tr. Holy Transfiguration Monastery (ISBN 0943405025)
* ''The Great Horologion'',
http://lemonparty.org/lemonparty.jpg Transfiguration Monastery (ISBN 0943405084)