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xciv) called the Invitatory, which is chanted or recited in the form of a response, in accordance with the most ancient custom.The hymns, which have been but tardily admitted into the Roman Liturgy, as well as the hymns of the other hours, form part of a very ancient collection which, so far at least as some of them are concerned, may be said to pertain to the seventh or even to the sixth century.The more solemn watches, which were held on the anniversaries of martyrs or on certain feasts, were also known by this title, especially during the third and fourth centuries.The Vigil in this case was also called pannychis , because the greater part of the night was devoted to it.As a rule they suggest the symbolic signification of this Hour (see No. This principal form of the Office should be distinguished from the Office of Sunday, of Feasts, and the ferial or week day Office. The same Liturgy has also preserved Vigils of long psalmody.The Sunday Office is made up of the invitatory, hymn, three nocturns, the first of which comprises twelve psalms, and the second and third three psalms each; nine lessons, three to each nocturn, each lesson except the ninth being followed by a response; and finally, the canticle Te Deum , which is recited or sung after the ninth lesson instead of a response. This Nocturnal Office adapted itself at a later period to a more modern form, approaching more and more closely to the Roman Liturgy.
Cassian gives us a more detailed account of the Night Office of the fifth century monks.
In the Mozarabic Liturgy, on the contrary, Matins are made up of a system of Antiphons, Collects, and Versicles which make them quite a departure from the Roman system.
From the foregoing it is clear that Matins remains the principal Office of the Church, and the one which, in its origin, dates back the farthest, as far as the Apostolic ages, as far even as the very inception of the Church.
It is doubtless, after having passed through a great many transformations, the ancient Night Office, the Office of the Vigil.
In a certain sense it is, perhaps, the Office which was primitively the preparation for the Mass, that is to say, the Mass of the Catechumens, which presents at any rate the same construction as that Office:--the reading from the Old Testament, then the epistles and the Acts, and finally the Gospel--the whole being intermingled with psalmody, and terminated by the Homily (cf.