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In Luke 1:68-79, Zacharias sings a hymn of praise and thanksgiving at the birth of his son, John the Baptist. In form it is a typical OT Psalm in two parts: the first praises God for the fulfilment of promises which are recounted, the second is addressed to the child in whom these promises will be fulfilled. This psalm is used liturgically in the Roman Catholic Church at Lauds, and in the Church of England in the 1662 Book of Common Prayer in Morning Prayer, where it is known as a Canticle (together with the Te Deum and Benedicite, and the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis at Evening Prayer).

BENEDICTUS ben’ ə dik’ təs (Latin benedicare, meaning blessed; Gr. εὐλογητός, G2329). 1. NT: a technical designation referring primarily to Luke 1:68-79, Zechariah’s prophecy of the Redeemer of Israel, where the first line in the Lat. Vul. is Benedictus Dominus Deus Israel, “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel.” Traditionally Matthew 21:9 has been given the Lat. title Benedictus Qui Venit, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” OT antecedents can be seen in Psalm 105; Micah 4:4; and Malachi 3:10.

2. Liturgically it has become part of the Rom. mass as a hymn sung immediately after the consecration of the Eucharist. In a modified form it also appears in the liturgy of the Church of England.