Midnight Office

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Nocturne is the midnight service of the Orthodox Church, which accordingly is also known as The Midnight Office.

In monasteries it usually begins in the very early hours of the morning, prior to Matins. It contains a number of psalms together with the normal prayers found in other services, such as the call to worship, the Thrice-Holy Hymn, the Our Father, the Troparion. Its theme is the night and the need for vigilance. In the parishes, it is known almost exclusively as the service preceding Easter Matins at which the winding-sheet depicting the dead Saviour is taken from the tomb and is placed on the altar table.

In Greek Prayer Books, a modified form of the Midnight Office is used for morning prayers for laymen, while a modified form of Small Compline is used for evening prayers.