MATINS: The office which, with its complement Lauds (q.v.), forms the nocturnal part of the Breviary (q.v.), and in length amounts to about one-half of that for the whole day. On ordinary week-days and simple feasts it has only one division or nocturn; on Sundays and all feasts above the rank of simple, it has three, corresponding to the ancient Roman division of the night into three watches. After the silent recitation of the Lord's Prayer, Hail Mary, and Creed, it begins with the introductory versicles and responses, and Ps. xcv., interspersed with repetitions of the invitatory, a versicle referring to the day or season; then a hymn, varying with the day, and the psalms, twelve on ordinary week-days, on festivals three to each nocturn. Each psalm or group of psalms has its Antiphon (q.v.) to bring out a special meaning for the day. The psalms are followed by the lessons, each with a short responsory. Those of the first (or on week-days the only) nocturn are taken from the Old Testament; those of the second from the lives of the saints or the writings of the Fathers; those of the third from some patristic exposition of the Gospel for the day. After the last lesson the place of the responsory is taken on Sundays (except in Advent and from Septuagesima to Easter), festivals, and week-days in the Paschal season, by the Te Deum.
Before the Reformation, matins, like vespers, was frequently a public service attended by the laity, so that some account was early taken of it in the reorganization of worship. In the Deutscher Kirchenamt, probably as early as 1523, there is a reformed vernacular office based upon it. Luther wished to retain matins and vespers, and saw no need of making radical changes in them, since they were mainly taken from Scripture. He wished to shorten matins, and to read the whole Psalter and the rest of the Bible consecutively, adding exposition on Sundays. In the Formula Missae of 1523 and the Deutsche Messe of 1526, he sets forth his arrangement at some length. It was not at all universally followed, especially in South Germany. The Reformed Churches knew nothing of it, and even where it was retained among the Lutherans there was no uniformity. In some places it was recited daily, in others on Sundays, and in others again only on great festivals; and the order of the service varied. In the nature of the case it was to be expected that this ancient service should gradually disappear; the last traces of it in Germany were retained on the three great festivals, especially Christmas; but none of the modern Agenda make any attempt to reproduce it. [In the Church of England Prayer-book (see COMMON PRAYER, BOOK OF) the vernacular office entitled "Morning Prayer," and colloquially designated as matins to this day, is a fusion of various features of the ancient matins, lauds, and prime.] (P. DREWS.)
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Bingham, Origines, XIII., ix., 10; A. J. Binterim, Denkwürdigkeiten, iv., 1, pp. 357 sqq., Mainz, 1827; W. Palmer, Origines liturgicae, , i. 213, Oxford, 1832; F. Armknecht, Die alte Matutin- and Vesperondnung in der evangelisch-lutherischen Kirche, Göttingen, 1856; T. Kliefoth, Liturgische Abhandlungen, vi. 185 sqq., vii. 438 sqq., 489sqq., viii. 164 sqq., Halle, 1859-61; F. Kraus, Real-Encyklopädie des christlichen Altertums, ii. 530 sqq., Freiburg, 1886; V. Thalhofer, Handbuch der katholischen Liturgik, ii. 358, 434 sqq., 450, Freiburg, 1893; KL, viii. 1042 sqq.; and much of the literature under BREVIARY.
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