For the two-headed dog of mythology, see Orthrus.

In the Byzantine Rite of the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Eastern Catholic Churches, Orthros (Greek (ὄρθρος, meaning "early dawn" or "daybreak") or Oútrenya (Slavonic Оўтреня) is the last of the four night offices, which also include vespers, compline, and midnight office. In traditional monasteries it is held daily so as to end at sunrise. In many parishes it is held only on Sundays and feast days. It is often called matins after the office it most nearly corresponds to in Western Christian churches.

Orthros is the longest and most complex of the daily cycle of services. It is normally held in the early morning, often — always in monasteries — preceded by the midnight office, and usually followed by the First Hour. On great feasts it is held as part of an all-night vigil commencing the evening before, combined with an augmented great vespers and the first hour. In the Russian tradition, an all-night vigil is celebrated every Saturday evening, typically abridged, however, in spite of its name, to as short as two hours. In the Greek parish tradition, orthros is normally held just before the beginning of the divine liturgy on Sunday and feast day mornings.

The akolouth (fixed portion of the service) is composed primarily of psalms and litanies. The sequences (variable parts) of matins are composed primarily of hymns and canons from the octoechos (an eight-tone cycle of hymns for each day of the week, covering eight weeks), and from the menaion (hymns for each calendar day of the year). During great lent and some of the period preceding it, some of the portions from the octoechos and menaion are replaced by hymns from the triodion and during the paschal season with material from the pentecostarion. On Sundays there is also a gospel reading and corresponding hymns from the eleven-part cycle of resurrectional gospels.


All of the psalms used herein are numbered according to the Septuagint, which is the official version of the Old Testament used by the Byzantine Rite. To find the corresponding KJV numbering, see the article Kathisma.

In very traditional monasteries, readings from the Church Fathers are read after each of the sessional hymns.

Types of orthros

There are seven types of Matins:

Basic forms

Special forms

See also


  1. One of the oldest elements in the orthos service and according to a pious tradition said to recall the Last Judgement, as Psalm 103 at vespers recalls the creation.

External links

This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 11/29/2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.