Ninthhour Service

Ninth-hour Service is the technical term for a divine service celebrated in some Christian churches. Canonical hours were introduced at an early period. The first of these was matutina, the morning service. about daybreak; the second at nine o'clock, called tertia, or third hour; the third at twelve o'clock, being the noon-day service; the ninth-hour service following at three in the afternoon. The fathers of the 3d and 4th centuries seemed to lay peculiar stress on this service as the most important of all. It was considered the hour of Christ's death; the hour when Cornelius was praying; the time when Peter and John went up to the Temple, "being the hour of prayer," i.e. the usual time of the Jewish evening sacrifice. The custom of alternating divine service at this hour seems to have been general in apostolic and patristic days, and in close relation to the Jewish observance. The Council of Laodicea expressly mentions the ninth hour of prayer, and orders that the same service be used as was appointed for the evening prayer. Chrysostom, too, must have reference to it in his mention of those hours of public prayer, for the third, in all probability, means the ninth hour, or Nones, as it is sometimes called.

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