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Lauds is a divine office that takes place in the early morning hours.

In the ordinary form of the Roman

Rite Liturgy of the Hours, as celebrated by the Roman Catholic Church, it is one of the two major hours.


1 Name

2 History

2.1 Symbolism and significance

2.2 Liturgia horarum (1970)

2.2.1 Variations

2.3 Other rites of the Western Church

3 Armenian liturgy

3.1 Outline of the Morning Service

4 Eastern Christianity

5 Lutheran and Anglican traditions

6 See also

7 References

8 External links


The name is derived from the three last psalms of the psalter (148, 149, 150), the Laudate psalms, which
in former versions of the Lauds of the Roman Rite occurred every day, and in all of which the word
laudate is repeated frequently. At first, the word "Lauds" designated only the end, that is to say, these
three psalms. Little by little the title Lauds was applied to the whole office, and supplanted the name of
Matins,[1] which in turn was reserved to the night office and replaced the name "Vigil".


Lauds, or the Morning Office or Office of Aurora, is one of the most ancient Offices and can be traced
back to Apostolic times. The earliest evidence of Lauds appears in the second and third centuries in the
Canons of Hippolytus and in writings by St. Cyprian, and the Apostolic Fathers. Descriptions during the
fourth and fifth centuries appear in writings by John Cassian, St. Melania the Younger, St. Hilary,
Eusebius, and in the Peregrinatio Ætheriae by St. John Chrysostom. During the 6th century St. Benedict
gave a detailed description of them in his Rule. Gregory of Tours also made several allusions to this
office, which he calls Matutini hymni.[1]
According to John T. Hedrick, in Introduction to the Roman Breviary, Lauds were not originally a distinct
canonical hour but Matins and Lauds formed a single office, the Night Office terminating only at
dawn.[1] The monks prayed Matins during the night and said Lauds in the early dawn.[2] In the 5th and
6th century the Lauds were called Matutinum. By the Middle Ages, the midnight office was referred to
as "Nocturns", and the morning office as "Matins". The lengthy midnight office became "Matins" and
was divided into two or three "nocturns"; the morning office became "Lauds".[3]

After St. Pius X’s reform, Lauds was reduced to four psalms or portions of psalms and an Old Testament
canticle, putting an end to the custom of adding the last three psalms of the Psalter (148-150) at the end
of Lauds every day. With the reforms of Vatican II, Lauds is now called "Morning Prayer".

Symbolism and significance

This is the Office of daybreak and hence its symbolism is of Christ's resurrection. According to Dom
Cabrol, "Lauds remains the true morning prayer, which hails in the rising sun, the image of Christ
triumphant—consecrates to Him the opening day."[4] The Office of Lauds reminds the Christian that the
first act of the day should be praise, and that one's thoughts should be of God before facing the cares of
the day.

Liturgia horarum (1970)

In the edition of the Roman breviary of 1970 which was revised according to the mandate of the Second
Vatican Council, Lauds (Latin Laudes matutinae, pl.) has the following structure:

A short introductory verse (unless it is being prayed immediately after the Invitatory or Office of

A hymn, which is optional when combining with the Office of Readings

A morning psalm, an Old Testament canticle, and a psalm of praise. These are opened and closed by

A short reading with a responsorial verse

The Benedictus, with its antiphon


The Lord's Prayer

Concluding prayer

Blessing and dismissal (if prayed in community)

All psalms and canticles are concluded with the doxology, "Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to
the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now and will be forever. Amen." (The current translation of
the U.S. Bishops' Conference, given here, differs from the traditional English translation used in other
countries.) The psalms and readings are distributed in a four-week cycle, which forms the heart of the


On feast days, the various parts of the hour may be taken from the office of the saint being celebrated
or from common texts for the saints. If the feast has the rank of "memorial", any parts specifically
provided for the saint (the "proper" parts) are used, while the other parts come from the weekday, with
exception of the hymn (which may be optionally taken from the common texts), the antiphon for the
Benedictus (which must be taken from the proper or the common), the intercession (which may be
optionally taken from the common texts), and the closing prayer (which should be proper, or if missing,

For a "feast" or solemnity, all texts are taken from the proper, or if some part is missing, from the
common. On these days, the morning psalm is always Psalm 63, verses 2-9, the canticle is the "Song of
the Three Holy Children" (Daniel 3:57-88 and 56), and the psalm of praise is Psalm 149. On Corpus
Christi, the hymn O Salutaris Hostia is sung.

In the important seasons of the Church year, such as Lent or Easter, many of the prayers are proper for
each day of the season. In Lent, Christmas, Holy Week, Easter Week, and the last eight days of Advent,
celebration of feast days is somewhat restricted. On some of these days, a memorial may be celebrated
as a "commemoration", adding an extra prayer at the end of the hour, while on others the memorial is
completely removed from the calendar.

Other rites of the Western Church

In the Ambrosian Office, and also in the Mozarabic, Lauds retained a few of the principal elements of the
Roman Lauds: the Benedictus, canticles from the Old Testament, and the laudate psalms, arranged,
however, in a different order (cf. Germain Morin, op. cit. in bibliography). In the Benedictine Liturgy, the
Office of Lauds resembles the Roman Lauds very closely, not only in its use of the canticles but also in its
general construction.[1]

Armenian liturgy

The Armenian Morning (or Early) Hour (Armenian: Առաւաւտեան Ժամ aṛawotean zham) corresponds
to the office of Lauds in the Roman Liturgy, both in its position in the daily cycle and in its importance.
This is the most complex of all Armenian church services in terms of the variations in the order and text
of the service depending on the day of the week, liturgical tone, commemoration of the day, and
liturgical season.

Many manuscripts and printed editions of the Armenian Book of Hours (Armenian: Ժամագիրք
Zhamagirk`) state that the Morning Hour commemorates the Son of God, with some manuscripts
adding, "at the time he was seized by the Jews." This is in reference to the story of the arrest and
interrogation of Jesus found in the New Testament Gospels.

Outline of the Morning Service

In the Morning Hour for Sundays and Festal Days there are seven slots into which hymnody may be
inserted which reflects the theme of the day. Each of these seven slots is associated with a Psalm or
Canticle from the Old or New Testaments.

The following outline is a general overview. Many of the alternate texts to be read on certain days of the
year have been omitted.

Introduction: "Blessed is our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. Our Father...Amen."

Preface: Psalm 90:14-17: "We have been filled at dawn..."; Glory to the Father...Now and
always...Amen." Proclamation: "Again and again in peace..."; Prayer: "Blessing and Glory to the
Father...Now and always...Amen."

First Section: Blessing of the Three Youths (Daniel 3:26-45, 3:52-90); "Glory to the Father...Now and
always...Amen." Acclamation: "Bless, all creatures..."; First Hymn: "Fathers Hymn" (for Sundays, feasts,
and commemorations; varies); Proclamation after the Fathers Hymn: "Having come, all of us,..."; Prayer:
proper to the liturgical tone or feast.

Second Section: Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55); Blessing of Zacharias (Luke 1:68-79); Prayer of Simeon (Luke
2:29-32); Second Hymn: "Magnificat Hymn" (for Sundays, feasts, and commemorations; varies);
Proclamation after the Magnificat Hymn (varies); Prayer after the Magnificat Hymn (varies).

Third Section: Hymn of the Myrrhbearers; Pre-Gospel sequence: "Peace be with you all...God speaks."
Myrrhbearers Gospel; Third Hymn: "Myrrhbearers Gospel Hymn" (varies; not to be confused with the
Hymn of the Myrrhbearers); Proclamation after the Myrrhbearers Gospel; Prayer after the Myrrhbearers