Daily offices

The daily offices seem to preserve some elements of the early Cappadocian offices, but also show Jerusalem influence (Winkler 199 7 and Woolfenden 2004). There are in fact nine offices provided: Vespers, the Hour of Peace, the Hour of Rest, Night Office, Matins, Prime, Terce, Sext and None. Commentaries on the office by Yovhannes Odznetsi (c.728) and Khosrov Andzewatsi (c.950) give some idea of the forms at an earlier time. Important modern studies on reconstructing the development of the Night Office and Vespers have been made by Gabriele Winkler. The core of Vespers in the Cappadocian and Jerusalem usage is conjectured to have been lucernarium with Phos hilaron, Psalm 140 and intercessions (Taft 1986), and these of course occur in Armenian Vespers. The present structure of Vespers consists of an introduction formed by the Lord's Prayer, Psalm 55: 17-18, and Psalm 86, followed by lucernarium with a prayer for blessing light, Phos hilaron or other hymn of light, the evening proclamation ('Let my prayer rise before you as incense'), a litany, prayer and prayer of inclination. The prayer of blessing is a fine prayer:

Blessed Lord, who dwellest on high, and praised is the glory of thy majesty; who estab-lishedst the luminaries on high, and sentest forth light by day, and the moon and the world of mankind. Thou madest the sun to give light by day, and the moon and the stars to give light by night, and the light of the lamp. Thou art light laudable, holy and primal light. From thee doth the darkness flee. And do thou, Christ, send forth thy living light into our hearts. And let us with one accord say, blessed is the name of thy holy glory. And to thee we sing a hymn of praise and glory to Father and Son.

At one time the service may have ended with the prayer of inclination, but in the course of time it has been extended. There thus follows the trisagion with prayers, Psalm 121, a prayer for those in need, and dismissal psalms (91, 123, 54), to which are added the Proclamation of the Cross, Psalm 122, Psalm 100, final invocation and Lord's Prayer.

The Hour of Peace commences with part of Psalm 34 and then a 'canon' of six psalms, the psalter being divided into eight canons, with cento-like prayers drawn from scripture and prayers. The Hour of Rest uses much of Psalm 119.

The Night Office opens with, 'Lord, if you will open my lips, my mouth shall sing thy praises' recited three times, and a benediction of the Trinity. Psalms 3, 88, 103, 143 follow, then hymns and supplications, prayer, a canon of psalmody and canticle, intercessions and prayers. Matins begins with Psalm 90: 14-17 and Gloria Patri, followed by a number of canticles: Daniel 3, Magnificat, Benedictus and Nunc dimittis. It may be that these are vestiges of Vigil. In the text given by Conybeare (1905), Psalm 51 and then 148-150 follow, with anthem and Gloria in excelsis, proclamation (according to occasion), and Prayer of the Resurrection. Then come litany and collect, Angel of Peace petitions, prayer of blessing and trisagion. The rite continues with a devotional addition, with bidding, responsory, Gospel of healing and anthem, bidding and blessing. The remaining Hours share a similar structure, with blessing God the Holy Spirit, psalm, hymns, prayer, and proclamation (bidding) and prayer and Lord's Prayer, although None is longer, with additional material.

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