Little Hours of the Divine Office

The canonical hours of prime, terce, sext, and none. Prime was said at 6 a.m., the traditional "first hour" of prayer; terce was said at 9 a.m., the "third hour"; sext was said at 12 noon, the "sixth hour"; and none was said at 3 p.m., the "ninth hour." These offices make up the traditional day hours, along with lauds, vespers, and compline. Matins was the traditional night office. The times for the "little offices" of terce, sext, and none were associated by early Christians with the events of Jesus' Passion. By the fourth century, the monks were joined by the secular clergy and laity for the principal morning and evening offices of lauds and vespers. The other offices were said by the monks. Archbishop Thomas Cranmer (1489-1556) consolidated the Daily Office to the Prayer Book services of Matins and Evensong. The little offices of terce, sext, and none were not included in the BCP until the twentieth century. The Order of Service for Noonday in the 1979 BCP (pp. 103-107) contains elements of the little offices of terce, sext, and none. It may be adapted for use at any or all of the traditional times of prayer for these three little offices. See Day Hours; see Terce, Sext, None.

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