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Blessings For Christmas Eve, In The 'Anderson' Pontifical

Blessings For Christmas Eve, In The 'Anderson' Pontifical

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1000

Shelfmark: Additional MS 57337

Item number: f.103r

Length: 29.7

Width: 24.3

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

A pontifical is a book of the church services conducted by a bishop, such as the ordination of a priest and the dedication of a church. This pontifical from Anglo-Saxon England was discovered in 1970 in the stables at Brodie Castle, in Forres, Scotland. It is called the 'Anderson Pontifical' after Hugh Anderson, minister of the parish of Drainie, Morayshire, in the early 18th century, whose name is inscribed with date in the book. No one knows how the ancient service book got from its place of origin, probably Canterbury or Winchester, to Scotland, but it is possible that it arrived in the Middle Ages, before the 13th century when Drainie was the seat of the bishops of Moray. The title in red capital letters at the top of the page identify this as a prayer of blessing delivered by the bishop on the vigil of the nativity (Christmas Eve). The blessing itself begins with the large green first letter of 'Om[ni]p[oten]s D[eu]s' ('Almighty God...'), one of several conventional openings for blessings. It is written as a series of prayers calling for light and joy in the world, with responses of 'Amen' (in red) to each.

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