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Blessings For Christmas Day, In The 'Anderson' Pontifical

Blessings For Christmas Day, In The 'Anderson' Pontifical

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1000

Shelfmark: Additional MS 57337

Item number: f.104r

Length: 29.8

Width: 22.7

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 may have arrived in the Middle Ages, before the 13th century when Drainie was the seat of the bishops of Moray. On important feast days celebrated in a cathedral, the bishop would give special prayers of blessing. This is the blessing for Christmas Day, identified by the title in red capital letters at the top of the page. The actual prayer begins with the large red first letter of 'Benedicat nos' ('Bless us...'), a frequently used conventional opening for blessings. It is written as a series of short prayers with short responses. The response 'Amen' and the places to repeat other responses ('Item alia') are written in red.

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