This is the first word of the phrase ‘Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini’, used in the Mass in the Sanctus* (from Mark 11:9 and Luke 13: 35). It is also the opening of the song of Zachariah (or Zacharias), Luke 1: 68-79: ‘Benedictus Deus Israhel quia visitavit et fecit redemptionem plebi suae’. Zachariah has been struck dumb by the encounter with the angel Gabriel, who tells him that his elderly wife Elisabeth will conceive and bear a son, John the Baptist. Zachariah is punished for being incredulous (verse 20), but finds his tongue again after he has insisted, by writing it down, that the child should, as the angel instructed, be called John and not Zachariah. He then prophesies in the...

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