The Hours of Prayer in the

The First, Third, Sixth and Ninth Hours all share a similar structure. They have three fixed psalms (5, 89 and 100 at the First, 16, 24 and 50 at the Third, 53, 54 and 90 at the Sixth and 83, 84 and 85 at the Ninth), then usually the troparion and kontakion of the day, some appropriate verses of scripture, a prayer common to all the hours and a prayer for each hour. In fasting seasons the troparia are the same every day and reflect the traditional themes of the hours: respectively, early morning, the sending of the Holy Spirit, the crucifixion, and the death of Christ. The Books of Hours also provides 'inter-hours' for fasting seasons outside of Lent, but they are now rarely used. In Lent the weekday hours may include the reading of a kathisma, and the Sixth Hour has a daily reading from Isaiah (Ezekiel in Holy Week), with prokeimena before and after it. On three days in the year, Christmas and Epiphany eves and Good Friday, there is a special form of the Hours, celebrated (mid-morning) as one service called Royal Hours. Each hour retains one of its usual psalms (5, 50, 90 and 85) alongside two others chosen for the day. There are poetic verses and Old Testament, Epistle and Gospel readings.

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