News Releases


March 24, 2008



Kristin Heinmets, Haberman+Associates
(612) 372-6458 /

Michael Hemmesch, Saint John’s University
(320) 363-2595 /

The Saint John’s Bible Shared Worldwide

Three Gifting Events of the Rare, Fine Art Reproduction Include Pope Benedict XVI

Collegeville, Minn. – March 24, 2008 – It’s been nearly a decade since Donald Jackson embarked on the calligrapher’s Sistine Chapel: the handwritten, illuminated Saint John’s Bible. Now, through the Heritage Program, individuals and artistic, religious and cultural institutions can experience and share the only full size, limited edition, signed and numbered reproductions of this extraordinary manuscript.

“Ever since the genesis of this project, we had imagined creating a limited edition, fine art reproduction of The Saint John’s Bible as our gift to the world,” said Br. Dietrich Reinhart, OSB, (retired) president of Saint John’s University. “This dream has come true with the release of the first reproduction of the seven volumes, Wisdom Books.”

To ensure faithful representation of the original manuscript, Jackson, the artistic director of The Saint John’s Bible, has been intensely involved in the reproduction, along with the world’s finest printing experts and binders. Each of the 1,150 pages and 160 illuminations will be scrupulously compared to its original counterpart to guarantee accurate reproduction. The Wisdom Books volume is approximately 25 inches high by 16.25 inches wide and weighs about 20 pounds.

“The same devoted team of calligraphers, illuminators, craftspeople and illustrators who brought The Saint John’s Bible to life is now capturing the spirit of the original and putting it into a printed form through the Heritage Program,” said Jackson. “But, there becomes a point when it stops being an imitation of the original and becomes a work of art in its own right.”

Beautifully bound, the editions within the Heritage Program are offered in the same seven volumes as the original. A special eighth volume of commentary will accompany each set, presenting the inspiration for the illuminations and a guide to understanding their imagery.

Extraordinary manuscripts are priceless and unique, permanently held by museums and libraries, unavailable to private collectors. But the artistry of Donald Jackson and his team is available to private collectors and institutions in the form of different editions of volumes of The Saint John’s Bible – all part of The Saint John’s Bible Heritage Program.

These volumes make the perfect capstone for a collection of fine art or books. They’re a wonderful gift from individuals or groups to their church or synagogue. Likewise, the Heritage Program is a superb addition to any college, university or seminary library, reminding all who see the volumes of the long history of both Bible and book, and of their eternal significance.

“Our family has been involved with The Saint John’s Bible since its inception 10 years ago. It is a strikingly beautiful work of art and one of the most remarkable and historic undertakings of our time,” said Gene Frey, Minneapolis and Naples resident. “Given our family’s interest in the arts, we have asked Saint John’s to donate a Heritage Edition of The Saint John’s Bible to the Naples Museum of Art for its permanent collection so that people from southwest Florida and beyond may see and enjoy its beauty for generations to come.”

Limited to 360 full sets, each will be numbered and include a certificate of authenticity. The Heritage Program includes the Heritage Edition sets – a full set and five volume set – currently available for subscription in pre-publication for $115,000. In addition, the program includes three enhanced editions – Apostles, Prophets and Patriarchs – each for a different sponsorship level. For additional information, or to purchase or gift a reproduction, visit

Proceeds from the sales of The Saint John’s Bible Heritage Program will fund student scholarships, 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.

Sharing The Saint John’s Bible Worldwide
In April 2008, Saint John’s University and Abbey will present a fine art reproduction of The Saint John’s Bible to Pope Benedict XVI, Archbishop Harry Flynn (St. Paul, Minn.) and John Carroll University (Cleveland, Ohio).

  • On Friday, April 4, the St. Peter Apostles Edition of The Saint John’s Bible will be presented to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, by the Papal Foundation through the generosity of the Gerald and Henrietta Rauenhorst Foundation.

[EDITOR’S NOTE]: This presentation will take place two weeks prior to Pope Benedict XVI’s first visit to the United States April 15-20, 2008. Please note for your video files.

  • On Saturday, April 12, the Prophets Edition of The Saint John’s Bible will be presented to John Carroll University from Saint John’s University. The gift is made possible through a donation by Target in honor of John Pellegrene, a retired Target executive and member of John Carroll’s class of 1958, and a long-time supporter of The Saint John’s Bible.
  • On Thursday, April 24, the Heritage Edition of The Saint John’s Bible will be presented to Archbishop Harry Flynn, from Saint John’s University and Abbey. The presentation will take place as part of a ceremony at 10:30 a.m. at the Cathedral of Saint Paul. The gift was made possible through the generosity of the Eugene and Mary Frey Family Foundation.

About The Saint John’s Bible

The Saint John’s Bible is the first handwritten, illuminated Bible commissioned since the advent of the printing press. It was commissioned in 1998 by the Benedictine monks of Saint John’s Abbey and University to ignite the spiritual imagination of believers throughout the world and to illuminate the Word of God for a new millennium.

The Saint John’s Bible is being 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 Bible continues the Benedictine tradition of copying and caring for sacred texts.

This 1,150-page Bible will be created in seven distinct volumes: Pentateuch, Historical Books, Psalms, Prophets, Wisdom Books, Gospels and Acts, Letters and Revelation. Upon completion, it will reside at the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library on the Saint John’s campus. For additional information, please visit