• Latin: matutinum, of the morning


In the Divine Office the first of the Canonical Hours. It probably derives its origin from the primitive Vigils which preceded the Eucharistic Assembly. The term was originally restricted to the conclusion of the Vigil (present Lauds), but gradually supplanted the term Vigil for that part of the service held between midnight and dawn. From the 4th century Matins was divided into three nocturns for Sundays and feasts, but on ferial days it eonsisted of one nocturn. The nocturns comprised psalms, prayers, lengthy Scriptural lessons, and other readings. The psalms and books of Scripture were recited according to a fixed order. In the normal festive Office of the present Roman Breviary, Matins has three nocturns, each consisting of three psalms, three lessons, and three responses. The first three lessons are from Scripture, the second group historical, the third group a patristic homily upon the Gospel of the Mass of the day. The first nocturn is introduced by Psalm 94 and a hymn; the third nocturn concludes with the Te Deum instead of the ninth response.

MLA Citation

  • “matins”. New Catholic Dictionary. CatholicSaints.Info. 13 June 2010. Web. 4 December 2021. <>