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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.The Office of the Dead and that of the three last days of Holy Week are simpler, the absolutions, benedictions, and invitatory being omitted, at least for the three last days of Holy Week, since the invitatory is said in the Offices of the Dead. Ordinarily there are four Lessons, followed by their responses, to each Nocturn.The Ambrosian Liturgy, better perhaps than any other, has preserved traces of the great Vigils or pannychides , with their complex and varied display of processions, psalmodies, etc. The two most characteristic features of the Benedictine Matins are: the Canticles of the third Nocturn, which are not found in the Roman Liturgy, and the Gospel, which is sung solemnly at the end, the latter trait, as already pointed out, being very ancient.
In any case the primitive signification of the word under these different forms was Aurora , sunrise.
Methodius in his "Banquet of Virgins" ( Symposion sive Convivium decem Virginum ) subdivided the Night Office or pannychis into watches, but it is difficult to determine what he meant by these nocturnes. Basil also gives a very vague description of the Night Office or Vigils, but in terms which permit us to conclude that the psalms were sung, sometimes by two choirs, and sometimes as responses.