News Releases


Gospels and Acts: The Saint John’s Bible

An Exhibition
at the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library
June 1, 2009 through December 31, 2009

This exhibition showcases original pages from The Saint John’s Bible which have not been on view at Saint John’s for over five years.

Experience the Word Come to Life.

Collegeville, Minnesota ... The Hill Museum & Manuscript Library (HMML), located on the campus of Saint John’s Abbey and University in Collegeville, Minn., will present the exhibition Gospels and Acts: The Saint John’s Bible. This exhibition includes over 30 original pages from The Saint John’s Bible which have not been on exhibition at Saint John’s in over five years. The exhibition begins June 1, 2009 and runs through December 31, 2009.

Gospels and Acts features original pages from Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and the Acts of the Apostles. These works come from the first volume that was created for The Saint John’s Bible and were completed in 2002. Among the pages on view are The John Frontispiece, Loaves and Fishes, Sower and the Seed, Birth of Christ, Pentecost, and Life of Paul. Also on view are artists’ sketches of the illuminations, as well as tools and materials from the scriptorium such as quills, hand-ground pigments, gold leaf, calfskin vellum, and ancient inks from China.

According to Tim Ternes, Director of The Saint John’s Bible, "The striking images and beautifully crafted script in Gospels and Acts invite viewers into the pages to make deeper and relevant connections with these well-known, sacred passages."

Gospels and Acts presents the first handwritten and illuminated Bible commissioned by a Benedictine monastery since the advent of the printing press more than 500 years ago. The Saint John’s Bible, a richly ornamented masterwork hand-illustrated with gold leaf on oversized vellum, is an unprecedented undertaking in contemporary book arts and a major cultural and interfaith endeavor.

Commissioned by Saint John’s Abbey and University, The Saint John’s Bible is a contemporary work created in the tradition of handwritten medieval manuscripts. The Artistic Director of the project, Donald Jackson, is one of the world’s foremost Western calligraphers and Senior Scribe to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s Crown Office at the House of Lords. During the past eleven years, Jackson has worked in rural Wales, with scribes and artists to write and illuminate The Saint John’s Bible entirely by hand, using quills and paints hand-ground from precious minerals and stones such as lapis lazuli, vermilion, malachite, silver, copper, and 24-karat gold.

The Saint John’s Bible, consisting of 1,150 pages in seven volumes, will be completed in 2010. When finished and finally bound sometime after 2012, the Bible will be housed permanently at the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library, Saint John’s Abbey and University where it will be used in worship and be available to scholars and the public. The Saint John’s Bible just completed its national tour of the first three volumes, and plans are under way for a second tour in 2012 which will showcase works from all seven volumes.

The Hill Museum & Manuscript Library is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. and from noon to 4:00 p.m. on Saturdays starting on the first weekend in May through the weekend before Christmas. Guests are welcome to view the exhibition at their leisure. There is no entrance fee. Interpretive tours and presentations are available for groups wishing to book in advance. Information and booking requests may be directed to Jill Dubbeldee Kuhn by calling 320-363-2355 or by email at For more information about The Saint John’s Bible visit

About Saint John’s Abbey and University and the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library (HMML)

Saint John’s Abbey is a Benedictine monastic community of men who follow the 1500-year tradition of worship and work through daily prayer and service. About two thirds of the community live and work in Collegeville, Minn. The Abbey is located on 2,400 acres of woodland and lakes in Collegeville, 70 miles north of Minneapolis/Saint Paul. Located on the campus of Saint John’s University, the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library (HMML) is dedicated to preservation of and access to art, rare books, and manuscripts focused on how humans imagine the sacred. HMML’s history of preserving rare and endangered handwritten works from around the world by capturing them on microfilm, and now in digital formats, began in earnest in 1965; the collection now totals over 30 million pages of manuscripts, the world’s largest collection of manuscript images. For more information about the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library visit