In honor of the 25th Anniversary of the commissioning of The Saint John’s Bible by Saint John’s Abbey and University, Lambeth Palace Library, Canterbury Cathedral and Sarum College will each receive a set of The Saint John’s Bible.
Created in Wales under the artistic direction of world-renowned calligrapher Donald Jackson, the former Scribe to Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, The Saint John’s Bible is the first handwritten and hand-illuminated commissioned by a Benedictine monastery in more than 500 years.
The original manuscript of The Saint John’s Bible was commissioned in 1998 and was completed in 2011. This rare manuscript is housed at the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library on the Saint John’s Abbey and University campus in Collegeville, Minnesota.
The gifts of all three sets of The Saint John’s Bible are made possible by an American couple through The Catharine Elizabeth Laney Trust. The gifts will be presented by representatives of Saint John’s Abbey and University during a week-long tour of England called the 25th Anniversary Dedication Tour.
25th Anniversary Dedication Tour
The 25th Anniversary Dedication Tour is being conducted to honor Donald Jackson, the Artistic Director and Principal Illuminator of The Saint John’s Bible, as well as the 23 other scribes and illustrators who created this unique, one-of-a-kind piece of sacred Scripture and art. The original manuscript was created in Jackson’s scriptorium in Monmouth, Wales.
“The Dedication Tour is a homecoming for The Saint John’s Bible,” said the Reverend Dr. John F. Ross, Executive Director of The Saint John’s Bible Heritage Program. “We are returning to the creative birthplace of The Saint John’s Bible within an ecumenical spirit where a piece of sacred scripture and art is being presented from a Benedictine Abbey in central Minnesota to the Anglican Communion. It is a profound act of unity and respect in a time of division and conflict.”
During the tour, participants and spectators at each public presentation will witness the permanent installation of The Saint John’s Bible to the historical canon of religious works at each institution.
Sarum College, November 5, 2023
Sarum College has been gifted a Heritage Edition of The Saint John’s Bible. The Heritage Edition is a fine art reproduction of The Saint John’s Bible and only 299 of these seven-volume sets exist in the world. The Saint John’s Bible will be received and blessed by Sarum College during a Sung Eucharist Service at Salisbury Cathedral on Sunday, November 5, 2023, 10:30 a.m. This service will be livestreamed at https://www.salisburycathedral.org.uk/worship-and-music/services/livestreams/.
The Reverend Canon Professor James Woodward, Principal of Sarum College, will receive Heritage Edition set of The Saint John’s Bible on behalf of Sarum College at this event after it is blessed by The Rt. Reverend Stephen Lake, Bishop of Salisbury. Father John Klassen, OSB, Abbot of Saint John’s Abbey, will off the homily during the service.
Lambeth Palace Library, November 8, 2023
An Apostles Edition of The Saint John’s Bible – one of only 12 in the world – will be gifted to Lambeth Palace Library and will be received during a Burnishing Ceremony and an Evening Prayer Service on Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2023, by the head of the Church of England and the Anglican Communion, The Right Reverend Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury. The Apostles Edition set is being gifted in honor and memory of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
Other institutions that have received an Apostles Edition include: The Vatican Museum of Art, the Library of Congress, the Morgan Library and Museum, and Washington National Cathedral.
The Apostle Edition of The Saint John’s Bible will be placed in the permanent collection of Lambeth Palace Library, the principal repository of records of the Church of England the worldwide Anglican Communion. Founded as a public library in 1610, it has been described as “the largest religious collection outside of the Vatican.”
Canterbury Cathedral, November 11, 2023
Canterbury Cathedral will receive a Heritage Edition of The Saint John’s Bible, which will be received and blessed during an Evensong service at Canterbury Cathedral on Saturday, November 11, 2023, 5:30 p.m.
The Very Reverend Dr. David Monteith, Dean of Canterbury, will receive Heritage Edition set of The Saint John’s Bible on behalf of Canterbury Cathedral at this event.
Other Dedication Tour Events
The Dedication Tour also will include a presentation on Friday, November 10, between 4-6 p.m. about the history of The Saint John’s Bible, “The Story Behind the Story,” at St. Martin-in-the-Fields, which accepted the gift of a Heritage Edition in 2009, as well as a 25th Anniversary Celebration and the presentation of the Pax Christi Award, the highest honor awarded by the College of Saint Benedict-Saint John’s University. The Pax Christi Award recognizes those who have devoted themselves to God by working in the tradition of Benedictine monasticism to serve others and to build a heritage of faith in the world.
About The Saint John’s Bible
The Saint John’s Bible was commissioned by the Benedictine monastery of Saint John’s Abbey and Saint John’s University to ignite the spiritual imagination of people throughout the world and to illuminate the word of God for a new millennium.
The Saint John’s Bible is truly a monumental manuscript at more than 2 feet tall and 3 feet wide when open. Its construction parallels that of its medieval predecessors, written on vellum, using quills, natural handmade inks, hand-ground pigments and gold leaf while incorporating modern themes, images and technology of the 21st century.
The creation of The Saint John’s Bible continues the Benedictine tradition of copying and caring for sacred texts. The original manuscript of The Saint John’s Bible consists of 1,150-pages created in seven distinct volumes: Pentateuch, Historical Books, Wisdom Books, Psalms, Prophets, Gospels and Acts, and Letters and Revelation. The original manuscript of The Saint John’s Bible resides at the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library on the Saint John’s University campus.
For additional information about the 25th Anniversary Dedication Tour to England and The Saint John’s Bible, please visit https://heritage.saintjohnsbible.org.