Rare, Apostles Edition of The Saint John’s Bible Presented to the Archbishop of Canterbury in honor and memory of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
In honor of the 25th Anniversary of the commissioning of The Saint John’s Bible, Saint John’s Abbey and University presented an Apostles Edition of The Saint John’s Bible to the head of the Church of England and the Anglican Communion, The Right Reverend Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, in honor and memory of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
The Saint John’s Bible is the first handwritten and hand-illuminated Bible commissioned by a Benedictine monastery in more than 500 years. The Apostles Edition is a rare, fine art reproduction of the original manuscript, which was created over an 11-year period, from 2000 to 2011. Only 12 Apostles Editions have been printed – the Vatican, the Library of Congress, the Morgan Library and the Washington National Cathedral also have an Apostles Edition of The Saint John’s Bible in their permanent collections.
The Right Reverend John Klassen, OSB, Abbot of Saint John’s Abbey, based in Collegeville, Minnesota, presented an Apostles Edition of The Saint John’s Bible to Archbishop Welby in an Evening Prayer and Blessing service on Wednesday, November 8, 2023, at Lambeth Palace and Library.
“Today I was delighted to receive an Apostles Edition of The Saint John’s Bible in honour and memory of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II,” said the Archbishop of Canterbury.
The gift of The Saint John’s Bible Apostles Edition to the permanent collection of Lambeth Palace Library is made possible through the Catharine Elizabeth Laney Trust. The gift is being given by an anonymous American couple.
“Speaking on behalf of our generous benefactors, we are deeply honored to offer this gift in honor and memory of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of an Apostles Edition of The Saint John’s Bible to Lambeth Palace and Library,” said Abbot Klassen.
The Apostles 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.”
Lambeth Palace Library contains an extensive collection of materials and documents relating to ecclesiastical history, including the archives of the Archbishop of Canterbury dating back to the 12th century, as well as those of other church bodies and of various Anglican missionary and charitable societies. Manuscripts include items dating back to the 9th century. The library also contains more than 120,000 printed books.
25th Anniversary Dedication Tour
The gift of The Saint John’s Bible Apostles Edition to Lambeth Palace is part of a week-long 25thAnniversary Dedication Tour. The tour honors 25 years since Saint John’s University commissioned Donald Jackson, the Artistic Director and Principal Illuminator of The Saint John’s Bible to create the project. In 1998, Saint John’s Abbey and Saint John’s University commissioned Jackson to handcraft the original manuscript of The Saint John’s Bible, which took place at Jackson’s scriptorium in Monmouth, Wales.
In addition to the Apostles Edition donation ceremony at Lambeth Palace, a Heritage Edition of The Saint John’s Bible was presented to Sarum College in Salisbury at Salisbury Cathedral. A Heritage Edition set will be presented to Canterbury Cathedral on November 11, 2023.
“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 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.”
About The Saint John’s Bible
The Saint John’s Bible was created 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 was created by a team of scribes, artists and craftspeople in a
scriptorium in Wales under the artistic direction of Donald Jackson, one of the world’s foremost calligraphers and the Scribe to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s Crown Office at the House of Lords in London, England.
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.