First Hand-Illuminated Bible in 500 Years on Display in St. Louis During 2017

January 24, 2017
For more information contact: 
Gabe Jones
Media Relations Specialist
Phone: 314.792.7557

Locations around Archdiocese of St. Louis to host St. John’s Bible

ST. LOUIS – The St. John’s Bible Heritage Edition – the first hand-illuminated bible commissioned by a Benedictine monastery in 500 years – will be on display at several locations around the Archdiocese of St. Louis during 2017. The massive piece of art includes 1,165 pages and 160 illuminations. Newsweek Magazine has called it “America’s Book of Kells.”

The St. John’s Bible was commissioned by the Benedictine monks of Saint John’s Abbey and University in Collegeville, Minnesota in the 1990s and was completed in 2011. The original manuscript of seven volumes remains at St. John’s University, but 299 sets were created as a “Heritage Edition” for travel and display around the world.

The St. John’s Bible was the vision of artist and calligrapher Donald Jackson, who led the international team that painstakingly created every aspect of the manuscript. Jackson is the scribe of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, and is one of the world’s foremost calligraphers. He has described an “illumination” as the way light plays off of the pages as they are turned.

The Gospels and Acts volume will be the on display in St. Louis throughout 2017 at locations including the Cardinal Rigali Center, St. Louis Priory School, Mercy Hospital, and the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis.

Initial public events at the Cardinal Rigali Center (20 Archbishop May Dr.) include:

Tuesday, January 31, 6-8:30 p.m. - Presentation by Tim Ternes, director of The Saint John's Bible at the Hill Museum and Manuscript Library in Collegeville, Minn., hosted by the archdiocesan Office of Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs

Wednesday, February 1, 12:15-1:30 p.m. - A “Brown Bag Lunch” and presentation by Tim Ternes will be held at the Cardinal Rigali Center. Participants are asked to bring their own lunch.

Thursday, February 2, 6:30-9:30 p.m. - St. Louis Young Adults will present a special edition of Theology on Tap, "The Illuminated Word,” with a presentation from Tim Ternes. Food and drinks provided.

More information about the St. John’s Bible and events as they are scheduled can be found at Photos of the St. John’s Bible and imagery of the illuminations are available upon request.