BRIEF INTRODUCTION TO LITURGY OF THE HOURS OF ARMENIAN CHURCH AND THIS RELEASELiturgy of the Hours or daily Church worship is divided into hourly services each of which has a specific theological and practical significance.The Book of Hours of the Armenian Church is comprised of nine daily services Midnight Time (Matins), Morning Time (Lauds), Sunrise Time (Prime), Third Hour (Terce), Sixth Hour (Sext), Ninth Hour (None). Last three are referred to as Daytime Prayers. They are followed by Evening Time (Vespers), Peace Time and Night Time (Compline). In the past these services were held at corresponding times of the day. This schedule was enforced especially strictly in convents. Later the services were combined Midnight, Morning and Sunrise services were held successively in the morning, followed by the three Daytime services at noon, and by Evening, Peace and Night services in the afternoon. Today only Midnight, Morning and Evening Time services are held first two in the morning followed by Evening Time service in the afternoon. The tradition of holding three combined services during the day is partially restored during the Great Lent.The current release of the Book of Hours is based on the calendar by Catholicos Simeon Yerevantsi (publ. in 1774). The calendar reflects the tradition of worship of the Armenian Church from late medieval period to the beginning of last century. According to it, the services are held on all calendar days with the exception of Lords days (when Sunrise Time and Peace Time are interrupted), Saturdays and evenings before Lords feasts (when Peace Time is discounted).Liturgy of the Hours may be supplemented on special feast days with hymns and prayers, sometimes as part of days liturgy, other times complementing the liturgy with additional hymns, yet other times being abbreviated. The services of such special feast days are presented in a slightly differing catalog. With the exception of Sunrise, Peace and Night Time services certain sections change depending on days meaning. Same principle is applied when selecting daily readings from Bible and Sharaknots (Book of Hymns). In this release Bible readings are presented as reference only (since the text is available in Daily Readings section with matching translations).The Holy Mass, part of daily liturgy, may be held on any day except during the regular days of the Great Lent. This release presents the special Holy Mass days including all Sundays, notable feast and commemoration days along with days liturgical rules. The Book of Hours is presented in Old Armenian language (Grabar); however, supplemental material (which currently contains brief explanations of each service) will be gradually expanded and filled with translations and commentaries.
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