MATINS (Fr. matines, med. Lat. matutinae, sc. possibly vigil iae, morning watches; from malutinus, " belonging to the morning "), a word now only used in an ecclesiastical sense for one of the canonical hours in the Roman Breviary, originally intended to be said at midnight, but sometimes said at dawn, after which " lauds " were recited or sung. In the modern Roman Catholic Church, outside monastic services, the office is usually said on the preceding afternoon or evening. The word is also used* in the Roman Catholic Church for the public service held on Sunday mornings before the mass (see BREVIARY; and HOURS, CANONICAL). In the Church of England since the Reformation matins is used for the order of public morning prayer.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)