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Contacts:
Jim Triggs, Saint John’s University
(320) 363-2595 / jtriggs@csbsju.edu

Kristin Heinmets, Haberman
(612) 327-6458 / Kristin@habermaninc.com 

St. Martin-in-the-Fields to Receive Rare, Fine Art Edition of The Saint John’s Bible
Archbishop of Canterbury says “beautiful text shows us a better way”

COLLEGEVILLE, Minn. – May 26, 2009 – A rare, fine art edition of The Saint John’s Bible will be presented to St. Martin-in-the-Fields Church in London on Sunday, June 14. The London Anglican Church will become the seventh institution worldwide, and the first in the United Kingdom, to display the Heritage Edition of The Saint John’s Bible.

An extension of the original Saint John’s Bible, the Heritage Edition is the only full-size, limited edition, signed and numbered fine art reproduction that will ever be produced. In all, 299 fine art reproductions will be created and placed in religious, arts, academic and literary institutions around the world. St. Martin-in-the-Fields, known as one of the most significant ecclesiastical buildings in the English-speaking world, is the first Anglican Church in the world to receive one of the editions. The first was presented to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican on April 4, 2008. Upon viewing the pages, Pope Benedict exclaimed: “This is a work of art … this is a great work of art … this is a work for eternity.” Since that historic event, seven institutions have received these editions, each displaying and sharing them within their communities in different fashions.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, The Most Reverend Rowan Williams, said “We tend to read greedily and hastily, as we do so many other things: this beautiful text shows us a better way. This project not only revives the ancient tradition of the church sponsoring creative arts, it also offers an insight into that lost skill of patient and prayerful reading.”

Reverend Nicholas Holtam, vicar of St Martin-in-the-Fields, who will receive the gift and lead the service, said he was thrilled to be receiving the volumes. “The Saint John’s Bible is a work of great art, engaging the reader’s senses with the sacred text. It also raises a discussion about the meaning, nature and authority of the text. It will bring a new focus on the Holy Scriptures in the recently renewed church,” said Holtam.

The first two volumes – the Wisdom Books and Prophets – will be presented at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 14, 2009, at a special service at St. Martin’s. The gift has been made possible thanks to the generosity of Dan and Katharine Whalen.

“It is a great honor for Saint John’s to be able to share this fine art edition of The Saint John’s Bible for the first time in the United Kingdom, the home of our esteemed artistic director, Donald Jackson. By sharing this legacy of sacred art with an Anglican church, we are fulfilling our mission to share a Saint John’s Bible with everyone, regardless of religious denomination,” said Dan Whalen, a 1970 graduate of Saint John’s University. “We hope that everyone who sees this monumental work of art will be inspired to experience Scripture in a very personal and meaningful way.”

By sharing the fine art edition with the St. Martin-in-the-Fields church, the landmark church in the heart of London joins Regis University in Denver; the Cathedral of Christ the Light in Oakland; John Carroll University in Cleveland; Santa Clara University in Santa Clara, Calif.; the Naples Museum of Art in Naples, Fla.; and Clarke College in Dubuque, Iowa, in helping to fulfill the mission of sharing The Saint John’s Bible worldwide and making it accessible to everyone.

About The Saint John’s Bible

The Saint John’s Bible is the first handwritten, hand illuminated Bible in more than 500 years. Under the artistic direction of Donald Jackson, M.V.O., one of the world’s foremost calligraphers and Senior Illuminator to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s Crown Office at the House of Lords, The Saint John’s Bible was commissioned by the Benedictine monks of Saint John’s Abbey and University in Minnesota, U.S., to ignite the spiritual imagination of believers throughout the world and to illuminate the word of God for a new millennium.

Through the Heritage Program, individuals and artistic, religious and cultural institutions can experience and share the only full-size, limited edition reproductions of The Saint John’s Bible. Bound in soft Italian leather and printed on 100 percent American cotton paper, the Heritage Edition features the exquisite calligraphy, vibrant imagery and stunning gold and silver illuminations inspired by the original. With Jackson as the creative director, the Heritage Edition is a work of art in its own right and each volume includes Jackson’s signature and certificate of authenticity. Proceeds from the sales of the fine art reproductions will help fund the continuing preservation of endangered medieval manuscripts worldwide, a permanent home for The Saint John’s Bible and scholarly work related to this monumental masterpiece. Visit www.saintjohnsbible.org for more information.

About St. Martin-in-the-Fields

St. Martin-in-the-Fields is known as ‘The Royal Parish Church.’ Between 2006-9 it has undergone a highly acclaimed £36 million renewal of its buildings. HRH The Prince of Wales is Patron to St Martin-in-the-Fields Development Trust.

St Martin-in-the-Fields is a working parish church with over 20 church services each week, including two for Chinese in Cantonese and Mandarin. The Connection at St Martin’s helps homeless people seven days a week, over 5,000 people a year. For more information see: www.connection-at-stmartins.org.uk. St Martin’s also hosts The Bishop Ho Ming Wah Association who run a thriving Day Centre for Chinese People. For more information see: www.connection-at-stmartins.org.uk.

In addition, St Martin-in-the-Fields is one of the busiest music venues in the country with over 350 concerts a year. Concerts take place on some Tuesdays and every Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and include Early and Baroque Music, chamber and world music, song and piano recitals. On Wednesday nights there is Jazz in the Crypt.

The full programme of services, concerts and other information about St Martin’s can be found at www.smitf.org.