Another Resource in Troubled Times – the Third Hour Office


Today I’m posting another AIC Resource which can be helpful to the faithful in these stressful times.  I find the words of the Third Hour office, especially the Third Prayer, comforting and reassuring.  I hope you will, too.

These offices were developed from prayer books and liturgies of the Church from both the Western and Eastern Church traditions.  The language has been adjusted to make it consistent with Anglican usage.  The sources are shown after each segment.  When used by more than one person, bold type indicates the responses or words said by presenter and participants.  The offices do not require the presence of an ordained person and can be said by anyone, anywhere, anytime that privacy is available.

You can find the text of offices for First Hour, Third Hour, Sixth Hour, Ninth Hour and Compline in the AIC Bookstore Publication, Hear Us, O Lord:  Daily Prayers for the Laity.    The book also includes catena, or selected prayers, based on the Psalms and a selection of “Awesome Prayers” from the early Church.   Like all our books, it is available using the Virtual Bookstore link at the bottom of the Home page.

Third Hour (9:00 AM)

The Invocation

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, one true God, to whom be glory and upon us mercy and compassion for ever and ever.  Amen.

The First Prayer

FROM the night season our soul awaketh unto thee, O our God, for thy precepts are a light upon the earth; teach us perfect righteousness and holiness in thy fear; for we glorify thee, our God, who existeth in verity; incline thine ear and hear us; bless thy people and sanctify thine inheritance; Grant peace to thy world; for blessed and glorified is thine all honourable and majestic Name.  Amen.  [Syrian Antiochian Orthodox prayer, 5th or 6th Century]

A General Confession

Let us pray

I confess to God the Father Almighty, to His only-begotten Son Jesus Christ our Lord, and to God the Holy Ghost, and before the whole company of heaven, that I have sinned exceedingly, in thought, word, and deed, through my fault, through my own fault, through my own most grievous fault. Wherefore I beseech God the Father Almighty, His only-begotten Son Jesus Christ our Lord, and God the Holy Ghost, to pity me, and to have mercy upon me. The Almighty and merciful God grant to us pardon, absolution, and remission of all our sins. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer [Luke 11:2-4]

OUR Father, who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil.  Amen. 

The First Chapter [Jeremiah 17:14]

Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me and I shall be saved; for thou art my praise.

The First Antiphon

Lord, be merciful unto me; (Psalm 41:4a)

Heal my soul, for I have sinned against thee. (Psalm 41:4b)

Thou hast been my succour (Psalm 27:11a)

Leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation. (Psalm 27:11b)

The Second Prayer

O LORD our God, who has chased the slumber from our eyes, and once more assembled us to lift up our hands unto thee and to praise thy just judgments, accept our prayers and supplications, and give us faith and love.  Bless our coming in and our going out, our thoughts, words, and works, and let us begin this day with the praise of the unspeakable sweetness of thy mercy.  Amen. [Early Byzantine Orthodox prayer]

The Second Antiphon [Syrian Antiochian Orthodox prayer]

Great is the day of Sunday

And blessed is he who keeps it in faith;

Because on it our Lord rose from the grave;

And the nations confessed the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised.

Halleluia, Halleluia, Halleluia.

The Third Prayer

CREATOR of the morning, who drove out the darkness and brings light and joy to thy creation; create in us habits of virtue and drive from us all darkness of sin; give us light and joy by the glorious rays of thy grace, O Lord our God, for ever and ever.  Amen [Syrian Jacobite Prayer, 5th Century or earlier]

The Second Chapter [Jeremiah 23:5]

Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, And shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.

The Third Antiphon

Stir up thy strength, (Psalm 80:2b)

And come and help us. (Psalm 80:2b)

Turn us again, O Lord God of Hosts; (Psalm 80:19a)

Show the light of thy countenance, and we shall be whole. (Psalm 80:19b)

The Fourth Prayer

O LORD our God, whose power is unspeakable, Whose glory is beyond imagining, Whose mercy is measureless; Whose love for men is above words;  look down upon us and thy holy house, O Master, and bestow upon all here present the riches of thy goodness and mercy; for to thee belong all glory, honour, and worship.  In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages.  Amen. [Armenian and Russian Orthodox prayer, Liturgies of St. John Chrysostom and St. Basil the Great, 6th Century or earlier]

The Psalm Readings

Psalm 5:1-3, 7-8, 12-13

PONDER my words, O Lord, * consider my meditation.

2. O hearken thou unto the voice of my calling, my King and my God:  * for unto thee will I make my prayer.

3. My voice shalt thou hear betimes, O Lord; * early in the morning I will direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.

7. But as for me, in the multitude of thy mercy I will come into thine house; * and in thy fear will I worship toward thy holy temple.

8. Lead me, O Lord, in thy righteousness, because of mine enemies; * make thy way plain before my face.

12. And let all them that put their trust in thee rejoice: * they shall ever be giving of thanks, because thou defendest them; they that love thy Name shall be joyful in thee;

13. For thou, Lord, wilt give thy blessing unto the righteous, * and with thy favourable kindness wilt thou defend him as with a shield.

Psalm 54

SAVE me, O God, for thy Name’s sake, * and avenge me in thy strength.

2. Hear my prayer, O God, * and hearken unto the words of my mouth.

3. For strangers are risen up against me; * and tyrants, which have not God before their eyes, seek after my soul.

4. Behold, God is my helper; * the Lord is with them that uphold my soul.

5. He shall reward evil unto mine enemies: * destroy thou them in thy truth.

6. An offering of a free heart will I give thee, and praise thy Name, O Lord; * because it is so comfortable.

7. For he hath delivered me out of all my trouble; * and mine eye hath seen his desire upon mine enemies. 

The Third Chapter [1 John 4:16]

God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God and God in him. 

The Fourth Antiphon

Incline my heart, O God, unto thy testimonies, (Psalm 119:36a)

And not to covetousness; (Psalm 119:36b)

O turn away mine eyes, lest they behold vanity, (Psalm 119:37a)

And quicken thou me in thy way. (Psalm 119:37b)

The Fifth Prayer

WE give thee hearty thanks, O heavenly Father, for the rest of the last night, and for the gift of a new day, with its opportunities for pleasing thee.  Grant that we may pass its hours in the perfect freedom of thy service, that at evening we may again give thanks unto thee.  Amen.  [Eastern Orthodox daybreak office, 5th or 6th Century]

The Fifth Antiphon

O thou, O God, save thy servants (Psalm 86:2)

Let my cry come unto thee. (Psalm 102:1)

The Sixth Prayer

GRANT us, O Lord God, the knowledge of thy divine words and fill us with the understanding of thy holy Gospel and the riches of thy divine gifts and the indwelling of thy Holy Spirit; and give us joy to keep thy commandments and accomplish them and fulfill thy will; and to be accounted worthy of the blessings and the mercies that are from thee, now and ever and unto ages of ages.  Amen. [Syrian Jacobite prayer, 5th Century]

The Grace [2 Corinthians 13:14]

THE grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost, be with us all evermore. Amen.

The Benediction

May the Lord Almighty and merciful, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, vouchsafe to bless us and keep us.  Amen. 

Here endeth Third Hour.  Go in peace and serve the Lord.  

Thanks be to God. 

An Ascension Day Office – Livestreaming at 12 Noon, May 21st

Ascension 2020

Ascension Day is a neglected Holy Day in the modern Church.  Since it always occurs  on the Thursday following the Fifth Day after Easter (Rogation Sunday), it is rarely read in a formal service.   I celebrated it every year in my former parish and I thought that, given the continued lockdown in many parts of the country and the world, A.D. 2020 would be a good time to revive the office.  The text was prepared based upon services in the Anglican, Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox traditions, combined with the Collect, For the Epistle and Gospel, Lord’s Prayer, Gloria in excelsis and Closing Blessing from the Holy Communion liturgy in the 1928 Book of Common Prayer, plus two canticles based on Scripture.    The complete text, including the appropriate Hymnal page for the Venerable Bede’s Ascension Day hymn, A Hymn of Glory Let Us Sing, is available in the AIC Bookstore Publication, Occasional Services for Anglican Worship, which also includes service for other neglected or rarely celebrated days or seasons.  It is available by order from commercial bookstores and through the Virtual Bookstore link at the bottom of the Home page of this site.

An Ascension Day Office
May 21st, A.D. 2020

Please respond or say with the Minister all the words in Bold
The people always say the Amen.

[Adapted from Tenth Conference of St. John Cassian, 5th C.]
O God, make speed to save us.
O Lord, make haste to help us.
Thy throne has been established from of old;
Thou art from everlasting. Alleluia.

Prayer of Thanksgiving

BLESSED art thou, O Lord of heaven and earth, to thee be honour, glory and praise for ever.  From the darkness of death thou hast raised thy Christ from the dead to the right hand of thy majesty on high. The pioneer of our faith, his passion accomplished, has opened for us the way to heaven and sends upon us thy promised Spirit.  May we be ready to follow the Way and so be brought to the glory of his presence where songs of triumph for ever sound.

Blessed be God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.
Blessed be God for ever and ever.

THAT the remainder of this day may be holy, good and peaceful, let us pray with one heart and mind.     

O GOD our heavenly Father, as our Ascension day prayers rise before thee, may thy mercy be upon us; cleanse our hearts and set us free to sing thy praise, now and for ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

The Psalm Page 219
Cantate Domino.

The Psalm appointed for this day is Psalm 96.
Please read responsively the words in bold type.

O SING unto the Lord a new song; * sing unto the Lord, all the whole earth.
2. Sing unto the Lord, and praise his Name; * be telling of his salvation from day to day.
3. Declare his honour unto the heathen, * and his wonders unto all people.
4. For the Lord is great, and cannot worthily be praised; * he is more to be feared than all gods.
5. As for all the gods of the heathen, they are but idols; * but it is the Lord that made the heavens.
6. Glory and worship are before him; * power and honour are in his sanctuary.
7. Ascribe unto the Lord, O ye kindreds of the people, * ascribe unto the Lord worship and power.
8. Ascribe unto the Lord the honour due unto his Name; * bring presents, and come into his courts.
9. O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness; * let the whole earth stand in awe of him.
10. Tell it out among the heathen, that the Lord is King, and that it is he who hath made the round world so fast that it cannot be moved; * and how that he shall judge the peoples righteously.
11. Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; * let the sea make a noise, and all that therein is.
12. Let the field be joyful, and all that is in it; * then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice before the Lord.
13. For he cometh, for the cometh to judge the earth; * and with righteousness to judge the world, and the peoples with his truth.

The Gloria Patri

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.  Amen.

The First Ascension Day Canticle
 [Based on 1 Timothy 3:16]
Christ Jesus was revealed in the flesh and vindicated in the spirit.
Christ was believed in throughout the world and taken up in glory.
He was seen by angels and proclaimed among the nations.
Christ was believed in throughout the world and taken up in glory.
Believed in throughout the world, he was taken up in glory.
Christ was believed in throughout the world and taken up in glory.
This will be made manifest at the proper time by the blessed and only Sovereign,
Christ was believed in throughout the world and taken up in glory.
Who alone has immortality, and dwells in unapproachable light.

All saying together:  

To the King of kings and Lord of lords be honour and eternal dominion. Amen.

The Collect for Ascension Day Page 177

GRANT, we beseech thee, Almighty God, that like as we do believe thy only-begotten Son our Lord Jesus Christ to have ascended into the heavens; so we may also in heart and mind thither ascend, and with him continually dwell, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.

For the Epistle Page 177 

The For the Epistle  reading is from the 1st Chapter of
The Acts of the Apostles, beginning at the 1st verse:

THE former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom be had chosen: to whom also he shewed him self alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: and, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judæa, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.

Here endeth the Epistle.

The Second Ascension Day Canticle
[Based on Psalm 145:1-4, 10-11, 21]

I WILL magnify thee, O God, my King; * and I will praise thy Name for ever and ever.
2. Every day will I give thanks unto thee; * and praise thy Name for ever and ever.
3. Great is the Lord, and marvellous worthy to be praised; * there is no end of his greatness.
4. One generation shall praise thy works unto another; * and declare thy power.
10. All thy works praise thee, O Lord; * and thy saints give thanks unto thee.
11. They show the glory of thy kingdom, * and talk of thy power.
21. My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord: * and let all flesh give thanks unto his holy Name for ever and ever.

The Gloria Patri

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost,
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end.  Amen.

The Gospel Page 178

The Holy Gospel is written in the 24th Chapter
of the Gospel of St. Luke, beginning at the 49th Verse.

Glory be to thee, O Lord.

JESUS said, Behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high. And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy: and were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. 

Praise be to thee, O Christ.

The Lord’s Prayer Page 82 

And now as our Saviour Christ hath taught us, we are bold to say,

OUR Father, who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread.  And forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

The Gloria in excelsis Page 84

GLORY be to God on high, and on earth peace, good will towards men.  We praise thee, we bless thee, we worship thee, we glorify thee, we give thanks to thee for thy great glory, O Lord God, heavenly King, God the Father Almighty.

O Lord, the only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ; O Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father, that takest away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us. Thou that takest away the sins of the world, receive our prayer. Thou that sittest at the right hand of God the Father, have mercy upon us.

For thou only art holy; thou only art the Lord; thou only, O Christ, with the Holy Ghost, art most high in the glory of God the Father.  Amen.

The Extinguishing of the Candles

Closing Music

A Hymn of Glory Let Us Sing

The Venerable Bede’s Ascension Day hymn, arranged to the German tune Lasst uns erfreuen, played on the Church organ in England by Richard Irwin, used with permission.

Richard’s music is available for download at

The original version has seven verses, with a double Alleluia after the first stanza and 5-fold Alleluia after the final stanza.

Here is the lyric for the first verse:

A hymn of glory let us sing
New songs tho’out the world shall ring
Alleluia! Alleluia

Christ by a road before untrod,
Ascendeth to the throne of God.
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Closing Prayer and Responses 

O Christ our God, who hast opened the kingdom of heaven,
bring us to reign with thee in glory.  


Let us bless the Lord.

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!  

The Blessing Page 84 

THE Peace of God, which passeth all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, and of his son Jesus Christ our Lord:  And the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, be amongst you and remain with you always.  Amen.

Go in peace and serve the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

Thank you for joining us for this celebration of Ascension Day.  Please join us on Sunday, May 24th, for another livestreaming of a service of Holy Communion for Sunday after Ascension.

Live Service for Easter Day

Easter Broadcast 2020This service offers traditional Anglicans who have not heard a live celebration of Holy Communion access to a live service for Easter Day, based on the 1928 Book of Common Prayer texts.  The 1928 B.C.P. services retains nearly all the original features of Archbishop Cranmer’s adaption of traditional Holy Communion as practised in the English tradition.  His work was also strongly influenced the emerging non-Roman Catholic practices in Europe and, unfortunately not often recognized, the translation into English of the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, first published at London in the 1520s.  The 1928 B.C.P. has a different Canon of the Mass and some parts are presented in a different order; nonethless, it remains faithful to Cranmer’s original purpose of a Scripture-based service with a strong sense of spirituality

The service will be read using a temporary altar at my home in Mechanicsville, Va.  My wife and I will be the only persons present.  Having retired from pulpit ministry at Epiphany A.D. 2014, this will be my first live service since then.  I broadcast all my Sunday services live at my former parish beginning in August 2010 A.D.  On most Sundays there were more people watching online than were present in the Chapel.

The illustration is two facing pages from The Gospels of Otto III, widely-regarded as the finest illuminated Bible ever produced.  Many of the images from it are or will be used in the AIC Bookstore Publications on each of the four Gospels.  The Gospel of John: Annotated and Illustrated should be available mid-year.  My goal is to have it in print for Whitsunday.

With patience, faith and Grace, we will get through this current crisis of the body which has deprived us of access to the Sacrament of Holy Communion.

Thank you for your interest and support.

May God bless you in all that you do in His Name! Amen.

Glory be to God for all things! Amen!

O Sapientia (Wisdom) – Dec. 18th

O Antiphons-Slide5Today, December 18th, is the first of the final seven days of Advent.  The AIC Seasonal Video series, The Great “O” Antiphons, offers Scripture, commentary, the reading/responses of antiphons and music for the occasion.  The series is based on a 12th C. office in the Roman Catholic tradition.  Here you will find information and links each day until the final episode on Dec. 24th.  The text for the entire series is printed on pages 21-27 in the AIC Bookstore Publication, Occasional Services for Anglican Worship, available using the Virtual Bookstore link at the bottom of the Home page.  The entire series is linked from the Digital Library page with Podcast versions from the Podcast Archive page.

The theme music for the day is On Jordan’s Bank the Baptists’ Cry, performed on his church organ by Jared Haselbarth, from his DVD (available at   The key phrase is O Sapientia, meaning Wisdom.  In Christian theology, Jesus Christ is the embodiment of the wisdom of the Father.

Watch “O Sapientia – Wisdom for Dec. 18th.

Listen to the Podcast version of O Sapientia.