The Heritage Edition of The Saint John’s Bible is spending a few months in Northeast Arkansas. From June 4 through July 31, St. Bernards Healthcare will host the unique piece of sacred art and offer viewings for the public.
Saint John’s Abbey and University in Collegeville, Minnesota, commissioned Donald Jackson to produce the hand-written, hand-illuminated Bible in 1998. It’s the first monumental, illuminated Bible commissioned by a Benedictine monastery in the modern era. It was created by scribes in a scriptorium in Wales under the artistic direction of Jackson, one of the world’s foremost calligraphers and the senior scribe to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s Crown Office at the House of Lords. The Bible was completed in 2011. Its permanent home is the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library at Saint John’s Abbey and University.
The Saint John’s Bible incorporates many of the characteristics of its medieval predecessors: It was written on vellum, using quills, natural handmade inks, hand ground pigments and gild such as gold leaf, silver leaf and platinum. Jackson has described an “illumination” as the way light plays off of the pages as they are turned.
“St. Bernards is excited about this great opportunity to host God’s Word among us as it was in days of old,” said Sister Maria Christi Cavanaugh, Vice President of Mission Services at St. Bernards. “The presence of this unique masterpiece Bible will hopefully impart a real sense of how Bibles were produced before the printing press, giving us an appreciation of the great detail and painstaking work it took before mechanized printing, which we so often take for granted in today’s world.”
St. Bernards will host a kick-off event and Mass to mark the opening of the Bible’s stay in Jonesboro at 10 a.m. Monday, June 4 in the St. Bernards Villa Chapel, located at 2217 W. Parker Road.
Starting that day, the Saint John’s Bible will be displayed daily in a case at the St. Bernards Villa Chapel. Pages will be turned at various times throughout the stay.
During certain hours the Bible is on display, volunteers will be available to supervise visitors while they handle the book and turn pages.
Viewing times and location:
St. Bernards Villa Chapel
9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday-Sunday
*Saint John’s Bible will be available to touch and experience on Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to noon.
For more information, please visit St. Bernards online or call the Healthline at 870.207.7300.