Benedictional (Benedictionale), a book containing a collection of benedictions or blessings in use in the Church. In the ancient sacramentaries, particularly in the Gregorian, various early forms of blessings are found. In some manuscripts these benedictions are interspersed throughout the book, while in others they are given separately. The blessings collected from the Gregorian Sacramentary constitute the so-called Benedictionale. From the very ancient manuscript of the Caesarean Library, Lambecius edited this Benedictionale, believing that he was the first to give it to the public. In this, however, Lambecius erred, since nearly all the blessings contained in this manuscript had been previously published, though under a different order, or arrangement, by Menard (d. 1644). Pamelius (Liturgicon Ecclesiae Lat., II) also edited a benedictional from two manuscripts of the time of Charlemagne or a little later, formerly in the library of the Queen of Sweden, now in the Vatican. Many discrepancies, nevertheless, are to be noted between the work of Pamelius and the original manuscripts from which it is supposed to be drawn. The “Liber Sacramentorum” of Ratoldus, of the tenth century, likewise contains numerous blessings; but the most complete benedictional is that found in two manuscripts (Nos. 62, 63) of the monastery of St. Theodoric, near Reims, written about 900. From a manuscript in the Abbey of St. Eligius Menard edited a benedictional, while Angelo Rocca has given us one from a manuscript of the Vatican Library. The pontifical of Egbert, Archbishop of York (732-766), published by the Surtees Society in 1853, contains numerous forms of blessings. The blessings in use in the present day are found for the most part in the Missal and in the Ritual.
ANDREW B. MEEHAN