The Coptic Book of

The Prayers of the Hours


The prayers in the “Agpeya” are the seven prayers recited at different hours of the day. Each hour includes a general introduction, psalms, intercessions (litanies), a few biblical passages, a closing prayer, and a general prayer to conclude. The Church uses the Agpeya in prayer due to the spirituality and idealism of its contents, as well as for several other reasons, some of which:

  • To prolong our stay in the presence of God
  • The Agpeya is a school in which we learn how to pray
  • The Agpeya contains all types of prayers: intercession, thanksgiving, humility and the pouring-out of the heart, confession and repentance, glorification, praise, love, and contemplations in God’s characteristics
  • The Agpeya teaches us to praise
  • In the Agpeya, prayers are conducted according to God’s will considering that most of them are psalms and gospel passages
  • By the Agpeya, our minds are steadfast on the Lord always
  • The Agpeya give us the habit of keeping God’s words
  • The Agpeya unifies the members of the Church in one prayer
  • The Agpeya instills in us the orthodox faith and doctrinet

Experts from “The Idealism and Spirituality of the Agpeya” by the thrice-blessed Pope Shenouda III

First Hour (Matins)

6 a.m. (Morning): at this hour, we commemorate the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead (Luke 24:1 6). It is prayed in the morning after rising from sleep to give thanks to our Lord for the beginning of a new day (Psalms 63:1, 5:3)

Third Hour

9 a.m.: at this hour of the Pentecost day, the gift of the Holy Spirit rested upon the holy Disciples (Acts 2:1). Also, at this hour on Good Friday, our Lord Jesus Christ was condemned to death by Pontius Pilate and was delivered to the Jews to be crucified (Mark 15:25)

Sixth Hour

12 noon: at this hour, our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ was crucified on the Cross at Golgotha for our salvation and the remission of our sins (Matthew 27:33-35)

Ninth Hour

3 p.m.: at this hour, our Lord Jesus Christ accepted the thief on His right-hand into Paradise, and tasted death in the flesh for our redemption (Luke 23:43, 46)

Eleventh Hour (Vespers)

5 p.m. (Sunset): at this hour, the body of our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ was brought down from the Cross, wrapped in linen, and anointed with aromatic spices (John 19:38-39)

Twelfth Hour (Compline)

6 p.m. (Before Bedtime): at this hour, we commemorate the laying-down of the body of our Lord Jesus Christ in the tomb (Mark 15:46). This hour reminds us of death and judgement since sleep is the last hour of each day


This prayer is reserved for monks as an examination of conscience, yet it is suitable for individual prayer and meditation


Early morning before dawn: includes three watches, commemorating the three prayers of our Lord Jesus Christ in Gethsemane during His affliction in Holy Week

Source: Agpeya: Prayer Book of the Hours by St. Mark Coptic Orthodox Church - Jersey City, NJ.


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