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4. The Length of Time allotted for the Delivery of the Sermon

Antiquities of the Christian Church
XII. Of homilies

4. The Length of Time allotted for the Delivery of the Sermon

This does not appear to have been determined by any canon, or rule of custom. It appears rather to have been regulated by times and circumstances. They were, however, much shorter in the Latin than in the Greek church. Some conjecture as to the length of time may be formed from the circumstance that more than one was delivered in succession; and yet it is remarkable that some of the longest sermons which remain to us, were delivered in churches where this custom prevailed. Some of Chrysostom's must have occupied two hours in the delivery, although this was the usual time for the whole service, as Chrysostom himself asserts. Bingham is of opinion that the sermons of the fathers could not have been an hour in length; most of the sermons of the Latin fathers, according to him, could not have occupied one half hour, and many not ten minutes. 

Like the ancient orators, the preacher is supposed to have spoken by an hour-glass, a water-clock, or a sand-glass.

Homil. Ixiii. p. 605.

Bingham. Vol. vi. p. 513.


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