Generally it designated the nightly meetings, synaxes , of the Christians.Under this form, the watch (Vigil) might be said to date back as early as the beginning of Christianity.
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.
Commenced in the evening, they only terminated the following morning, and comprised, in addition to the Eucharistic Supper, homilies, chants, and divers offices.
These last Vigils it was that gave rise to certain abuses, and they were finally abolished in the Church (see VIGILS).
The word "Matins" ( Latin Matutinum or Matutinae ), comes from Matuta , the Latin name for the Greek goddess Leucothae or Leucothea , white goddess, or goddess of the morning ( Aurora ): Leucothee graius, Matuta vocabere nostris , Ovid, V, 545.
Hence Matutine, Matutinus, Matutinum tempus , or simply Matutinum (i.e.