Benedictus(ii) (Lat.: ‘blessed’)
- John Caldwell
- and Joseph Dyer
The first word of the canticle of Zechariah (Zachary), ‘Benedictus Dominus Deus Israel’ (Luke i.68–79), sung towards the end of the Office of Lauds in most Latin rites, after the 9th ōdē of the kanōn in the Byzantine morning Office of Orthros (it replaces this ōdē during Eastertide), and before the Nicene Creed at Anglican Matins. It is also the first word of the canticle of David, ‘Benedictus es, Domine Deus Israel patris nostri’ (1 Chronicles xxix.10b–13), the festal canticle sung to the ordinary Office psalmody at Monday Lauds in the Roman monastic and secular Office.
The original assignment of the canticle of Zechariah to Lauds was presumably prompted by the words: ‘the day-spring from on high hath visited us to give light to them that sit in darkness’. Benedict of Nursia referred to the canticle as the ‘canticum de evangelia’, and his earlier contemporary, known only as the ‘Master’, called it simply ‘evangelia’. In the Gregorian (though not the Old Roman) repertory, a special psalmody in each of the modes and with ornate intonations and cadences is reserved for the singing of the ...