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They are the same hours that have been preserved within the Orthodox Christian Daily Cycle of Prayers

  • First Hour corresponds to daybreak (6:00 a.m.).
  • Third Hour corresponds to mid-morning (9:00 a.m.)
  • Sixth Hour corresponds to mid-day (12:00 noon)
  • Ninth Hour corresponds to mid-afternoon (3:00 p.m.)

Regarding the discrepancy between John's and Mark's account of the hour at which Jesus was crucified, there are three explanations that I am aware of:

First, some manuscripts (including the Codex Sinaiticus, which is the most ancient on hand following the Vaticanus) actually do indicate "the third hour" instead of "the sixth hour", though Metzger discounts this as "an obvious attempt to harmonize the chronology" (A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, 2nd ed.).

Second, certain Church Fathers (e.g. Eusebius and Jerome) ascribe the discrepancy due to a transcription error, wherein a copiest confused the Greek symbol used for 3 - the letter Γ' (gamma) - with a special character called the episemon - denoted by ϝ - used to represent the number 6. Theophylact of Ohrid, writing in the 11th century, explains how this might have occurred:

The letter gamma represents the ordinal number 3 and is used to indicate the third hour. A special character called the episemon or "symbol" represents the number 6 and is used to indicate the sixth hour. It is possible that a scribe inadvertantly altered the gamma, rounding and lengthening the upright line, so that it resembled the episemon. Thus John in all likelihood wrote the third hour, and not, the sixth hour, as we now read in the text. The other three evangelists - Matthew, Mark, and Luke - agree that form the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour [Mt 27:45; Mk 15:25,33; Lk 23:44]. This indicates that the Lord was crucified before it became dark at the sixth hour; that is, at the third hour, as Mark states [15:23] and the other two imply.

Explanation of the Gospel According to Saint John (tr. Chrysostom Press: 2007), p.282

A third explanation, also posited by Theophylact, is that the third hour was the hour at which the crucifixion order was issued by Pilate, but that the actual crucifixion might not have actually occurred until three hours later. Theophylact points out that a number of events took place between the hour of judgment and the time of crucifixion:

Consider how many events took place from the time when Pilate decided to crucify the Lord to the time when He was nailed to the cross. Pilate released Barabbas (this constituted the Lord's condemnation), had Jesus scourged, and handed Him over to be crucified. The soldiers spent a long time taunting Christ with their elaborate burlesque. Pilate brought jesus out and spoke with the Jews, after which he took Him back inside to judge Him. Then he went out again and tried to reason with the Jews. So it was at the sixth hour, mentioned by John, that Pilate at last gave up on winning over the Jews, stopped questioning Jesus, and rendered his final decision by handing Him over to them.

They are the same hours that have been preserved within the Orthodox Christian Daily Cycle of Prayers

  • First Hour corresponds to daybreak (6:00 a.m.).
  • Third Hour corresponds to mid-morning (9:00 a.m.)
  • Sixth Hour corresponds to mid-day (12:00 noon)
  • Ninth Hour corresponds to mid-afternoon (3:00 p.m.)

They are the same hours that have been preserved within the Orthodox Christian Daily Cycle of Prayers

  • First Hour corresponds to daybreak (6:00 a.m.).
  • Third Hour corresponds to mid-morning (9:00 a.m.)
  • Sixth Hour corresponds to mid-day (12:00 noon)
  • Ninth Hour corresponds to mid-afternoon (3:00 p.m.)

Regarding the discrepancy between John's and Mark's account of the hour at which Jesus was crucified, there are three explanations that I am aware of:

First, some manuscripts (including the Codex Sinaiticus, which is the most ancient on hand following the Vaticanus) actually do indicate "the third hour" instead of "the sixth hour", though Metzger discounts this as "an obvious attempt to harmonize the chronology" (A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, 2nd ed.).

Second, certain Church Fathers (e.g. Eusebius and Jerome) ascribe the discrepancy due to a transcription error, wherein a copiest confused the Greek symbol used for 3 - the letter Γ' (gamma) - with a special character called the episemon - denoted by ϝ - used to represent the number 6. Theophylact of Ohrid, writing in the 11th century, explains how this might have occurred:

The letter gamma represents the ordinal number 3 and is used to indicate the third hour. A special character called the episemon or "symbol" represents the number 6 and is used to indicate the sixth hour. It is possible that a scribe inadvertantly altered the gamma, rounding and lengthening the upright line, so that it resembled the episemon. Thus John in all likelihood wrote the third hour, and not, the sixth hour, as we now read in the text. The other three evangelists - Matthew, Mark, and Luke - agree that form the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour [Mt 27:45; Mk 15:25,33; Lk 23:44]. This indicates that the Lord was crucified before it became dark at the sixth hour; that is, at the third hour, as Mark states [15:23] and the other two imply.

Explanation of the Gospel According to Saint John (tr. Chrysostom Press: 2007), p.282

A third explanation, also posited by Theophylact, is that the third hour was the hour at which the crucifixion order was issued by Pilate, but that the actual crucifixion might not have actually occurred until three hours later. Theophylact points out that a number of events took place between the hour of judgment and the time of crucifixion:

Consider how many events took place from the time when Pilate decided to crucify the Lord to the time when He was nailed to the cross. Pilate released Barabbas (this constituted the Lord's condemnation), had Jesus scourged, and handed Him over to be crucified. The soldiers spent a long time taunting Christ with their elaborate burlesque. Pilate brought jesus out and spoke with the Jews, after which he took Him back inside to judge Him. Then he went out again and tried to reason with the Jews. So it was at the sixth hour, mentioned by John, that Pilate at last gave up on winning over the Jews, stopped questioning Jesus, and rendered his final decision by handing Him over to them.

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They are the same hours that have been preserved within the Orthodox Christian Daily Cycle of Prayers

  • First Hour corresponds to daybreak (6:00 a.m.).
  • Third Hour corresponds to mid-morning (9:00 a.m.)
  • Sixth Hour corresponds to mid-day (12:00 noon)
  • Ninth Hour corresponds to mid-afternoon (3:00 p.m.)