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Review article

Origin and development of liturgical hours in the Early Church until the end of 4th century

Ivan Rako ; University of Sarajevo - Catholic Theological Faculty, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Full text: croatian pdf 488 Kb

page 177-200

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As there is scarce literature on the liturgy of the hours in the Croatian language, this article deals with the traditional form of prayer, the liturgy of the hours, in the early Church and contributes to filling this gap. Special attention is paid to the tradition of liturgy of the hours up to the 4th century and the simultaneous formation of Christian communities. After analyzing the different but identical terms that were used for this form of prayer, it is necessary to investigate their historical genesis. For this purpose, the article reviews the early Church formed in the cultural circle of Judaism. Already in Judaism, part of the proprium was the consecration of the day through prayer, especially the two main pillars of the day, morning and evening. It is therefore not surprising that the first Christians, who grew out of Judaism, adopted this custom and even expanded the number of prayer meetings and specific prayers. The sources of early Christian works, in relation to the Christian practice of prayer, are a clear indicator. There are two main types of liturgical hours, namely the monastic and the cathedral types. After presenting both basic types and placing them at the center of the life of the Christian community, the presentation of the liturgy of the hours is based on a prominent and detailed example in Jerusalem as reported by the pilgrim Egeria. This report contains a detailed description of the liturgy on Sundays and weekdays, as well as a certain and probable combination of elements of the two basic types, the monastic and the cathedral.


Liturgy of the Hours; Early Christian Sources; Cathedral and Monastic Liturgy of the Hours; Liturgy of the Hours in Jerusalem; Pilgrimage of Egeria.

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