MATINS – The early morning prayer service in the Orthodox Church. It begins with six psalms and has the reading of one of the eleven Resurrection Gospels, followed by the Canon with nine Odes and also the Great Doxology. It always is served before Divine Liturgy, sometimes on the eve of a holy day.
The Matins service of the Church unites the elements of morning psalmody and prayer with meditation on the Biblical canticles, the Gospel reading, and the particular theme of the day in the given verses and hymns. The themes of God’s revelation and light are also always central to the morning service of the Church.
Sometimes, particularly in churches of the Russian tradition, the matins and the vesper services are combined to form a long vigil service. On special feast days, the blessing of bread, wheat, wine, and oil is added to the Vespers, even when it is served separately from Matins. The faithful partake of the blessed fold and are anointed with the oil as a sign of God’s mercy and grace.