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matins

mat·ins / ˈmatnz/ (Brit. also mat·tins) • n. a service of morning prayer in various churches, esp. the Anglican Church. ∎  a service forming part of the traditional Divine Office of the Western Christian Church, originally said (or chanted) at or after midnight, but historically often held with lauds on the previous evening. ∎  (also matin) poetic/lit. the morning song of birds.

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matins

matins a service forming part of the traditional Divine Office of the Western Christian Church, originally said (or chanted) at or after midnight, but historically often held with lauds on the previous evening. Also, a service of morning prayer in various Churches, especially the Anglican Church.

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matins

matins, mattins XIII. ME. matines — (O)F.:- ecclL. mātūtīnās, nom. -īnæ; see MATUTINAL.

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matins

matinsbanns, glans, Prestonpans, sans •Octans •Benz, cleanse, Fens, gens, lens •Homo sapiens • impatiens • nolens volens • delirium tremens • Serpens •vas deferens • Cairns • Keynes •Jeans, means, Queens, smithereens •Owens • Robbins • Rubens • gubbins •Hitchens • O'Higgins •Huggins, juggins, muggins •imagines • Jenkins • Eakins • Dickens •Wilkins • Hopkins •Dawkins, Hawkins •Collins • Gobelins • widdershins •matins • Martens • Athens • avens •Heinz • confines • Apenninesbonze, bronze, Johns, mod cons, Mons, St John's •Downs, grounds, hash-browns, Townes •Jones, nones •lazybones • sawbones • fivestones •New Orleans, Orléans •Lions, Lyons •Gibbons • St Albans • Siddons •shenanigans • Huygens • vengeance •goujons • St Helens • Hollands •Newlands • Brooklands • Netherlands •Siemens • Symons • commons •summons • Lorenz • Parsons •Goossens •Lamentations, United Nations •Colossians • Sextans • Buttons •Evans • Stevens • Ovens • Onions •Lutyens •Cousins, Cozens •Burns

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Matins

MATINS

The Latin word matutinum means "the morning hours." The term was first used for the morning prayer of praise (subsequently called lauds). The night choir Office was not originally called Matins but Vigils, because its proper place was around midnight or in the first half of the night. In the Middle Ages, this night choir Office was called Matins as it was celebrated at the end of the night toward the hour of prayer at dawn, Lauds.

Prayer during the night was already recommended to Christians of the 3d century. According to Tertullian (d. after 220), a vigil was observed by the whole community on many occasions during the year, and lasted throughout the whole of Easter night (Ad uxorem 2.4; Patrologia Latina, ed. J. P. Migne, 1:1407). Later, monks held the vigil every night (John Cassian, d. c. 430; De institutione coenobiorum 3.2; Patrologia Latina 49:115), and Emperor Justinian I (527565) ordered it for all clerics of his empire (Corpus iuris civilis, Codex Iustinianus, ed. P. Krueger, 1.3.1.42). Its recitation remains an obligation for the secular and regular clergy under the 1971 revision of the Liturgy of the Hours.

The vigil that the bishop or priest held with the community consisted in readings with related singing and prayer; here the readings were most important. Monks, on the other hand, placed greater value on the psalmody. This is shown by the Rule of St. Benedict, since one could, according to it, shorten the readings rather than the psalmody (ch. 10). The form of the public vigil is preserved in the Roman easter vigil.

The form of the monastic vigil consisted first in the singing of Psalms; the readings and responsories then followed. St. Benedict was acquainted with this form of the vigil in the Roman basilicas, where, already in his time, monks celebrated the hours of prayer. He modified somewhat the form he found there for the benefit of his own monks, so that Roman and monastic Matins were distinguished from that time on.

Traditionally, Matins opened with an Invitatory or invitation to prayer that consisted of Psalm 94, which was sung with intermittent short refrains. After the Invitatory came the hymn of the day. As with all the other hours of the Office, Matins, when separated from Lauds, was concluded with a Collect. Medieval monastic Matins, however, concluded with the Te Deum, the Gospel of the day, and the hymn Te decet laus.

Nocturn. On greater feast days, the medieval Matins was divided into three nocturns, each having three Psalms and three readings. There is disagreement among scholars regarding the origin of this tripartite division into nocturns. J. A. Jungmann claimed that nothing in the sources proves that the three nocturns were originally three separate prayer services; this arrangement was simply a subsequent external division of a single nocturn (Pastoral Liturgy 118). A. Baumstark, on the other hand, maintained that this threefold division came from Syria, where there were three (originally two) independent hours of prayer (Nocturna laus 145155).

Psalmody. In the medieval Matins, the Psalms were sung by antiphonal choirs: one-half of the choir answers the other. The Psalm was opened by a verse through which the tone was given, the antiphon; the same verse was also sung at the end. At Matins, Psalms 1 to 108 were progressively distributed through the week, i.e., those not used for other hours of the Office. On more solemn feasts (e.g., the feasts of the Apostles), those Psalms were chosen that were suitable for the day.

Readings. The readings were drawn from Scripture, the Fathers, and the lives of the saints. Holy Scripture was read daily according to a determined order. Since the cursus of readings was computed for one year, only a selection of texts was read. During Lent as well as on several other days only a patristic homily on the Gospel of the day was used. The feasts of the saints had, as a rule, a short description of their lives, and often a legend of the saint.

Responsory. The Responsory comprised a response, a verse, and the repetition of half the response. For the individual books on Scripture there exist ancient series of responsories that in the Middle Ages were called "histories" because together they often form ballads about the history of Israel.

Since for priests in the active ministry Matins were too long, Pius X (d. 1914) had already begun to shorten them (nine instead of the 18 or 12 Psalms). Pius XII (d.1958) and John XXIII (d. 1963) went even further and reduced the number of readings for most feast days. For a long time, priests were allowed to anticipate Matins, i.e., to recite them the previous afternoon, since an hour of prayer during the night was hardly possible for them. In the 1971 Liturgy of the Hours, Matins is called the Office of Readings and may be recited at any time of the day by those not in choir. The complete revision of this hour has resulted in a longer and better selection of readings from scriptural and patristic sources, with a corresponding reduction in legendary materials for the lives of the saints.

Bibliography: a. baumstark, Nocturna laus (Münster 1957). j. pascher, Das Stundengebet der römischen Kirche (Munich 1954); Das liturgische Jahr (Munich 1963). j. a. jungmann, Pastoral Liturgy (New York 1962).

[j. pascher/eds.]

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