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Amen! Celebrating the Completion of
The Saint John's Bible

With the delivery of the final volume of The Saint John's Bible - Letters and Revelation -- a creation that His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI called a "work for eternity" is finished. The first illuminated, handwritten Bible of monumental size to be commissioned by a Benedictine moastery in more than 500 years is done. All 73 books form the Old and New Testaments, presented in seven volumes and 1,150 pages, are now home at Saint John's. Commissioned in 1998, the 15-year project was a vast achievement by Donald Jackson, his team of artists and the Saint John's Community. The original artwork and its fine art edition, the Heritage Edition, are a gift to the world and will be seen, read and experienced for centuries to come.

As Michael Patella, OSB, chair of "Committee on Illumination and Text, said: "Let the Bible do what we [Saint John's] wanted it to do — provide a new way of interpreting the Bible by letting the Spirit work through the art and the text."

On June 18, Donald and Mabel Jackson, the Saint John's community, artists, theologians, biblical scholars, donors and friends gathered to celebrate its completion. The presentation of the Letters and Revelation volume was celebrated in the Saint John's Abbey Church during a vigil service. As part of the service, Abbot John Klassen and university president Fr. Bob Koopmann each burnished two gilded crosses left on the page by Donald. By polishing the crosses, Abbot John and Fr. Bob finished the book and the making of The Saint John's Bible. After the final touches, the folio remained on display on the altar for guests to view. Ten two-page spreads of folios from the Letters and Revelation volume were displayed around the perimeter of the Abbey Church forguests to view before and after the vigil.

At the reception following the vigil service, three individuals who made extraordinary contributions to The Saint John's Bible project also were honored and remembered:

Fr. Bob Koopmann and Abbot John Klassen burnish two gilded crosses.
Photo by Paul Middlestaedt

Jo White For introducing Saint John's to Donald Jackson and in recognition of all that she has done for the project, Abbot John proclaimed her as the "mother of The Saint John's Bible"

Carol Marrin As the former director of The Saint John's Bible and "pillar of wisdom," Carol was recognized for her eight years of work on the project. Carol passed away just weeks before the celebration after a courageous struggle with breast cancer. Abbot John said, "She held on long enough to see her 'third child' come to maturity."

Dietrich Reinhart, OSB Br. Dietrich, former president of Saint John's University, who passed away in December 2008, was recognized as the "supreme champion and mastermind of the project." Abbot John said Br. Dietrich reveled in the beauty and glory of each and every page. "But even though he is not with us in person you can be sure he is looking down at us with his boyish grin proud as can be," he said.

Abbot John Klassen and Fr. Bob Koopmann presenting the finished folio.
Photo by Paul Middlestaedt

Culminating the celebration, Donald and Mabel were honored with The Colman J. Barry Award for Distinguished Contributions to Religion and Society. Fr. Bob said: "Together you have made this magnificent dream a reality, giving our community a richer understanding of its Benedictine heritage, and illuminating the word of God for a new millennium."

In the evening's final remarks, Donald said, "What Saint John's will do with it [the Bible] is our legacy. That is going to provide all of us with a legacy for the work we put into it… If you go within and ask, you'll find good things to do with it. The history of this project and the relationship we've had with this place tells me that you'll find good answers."

It was an emotional and jubilant evening that included prayers, honors, tributes, remembrances and resounding applause for a "job well done."

[Excerpts taken from article written by Margaret Wethingon Arnold for Saint John's Magazine.]

In This Issue

• Amen! Celebrating the Completion of The Saint John's Bible

• Upcoming Exhibitions & Events

See the Bible

Touring Exhibitions

Loyola University Museum of Art (LUMA)
Chicago, IL
August 20 – October 23, 2011

Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Minneapolis, MN
September 16 – November 13, 2011

New Mexico History Museum
Santa Fe, NM
October 21, 2011 - April 7, 2012

Print Exhibitions

Benet Hill Monastery &
Colorado College

Colorado Springs, CO
Sept. 26 - November 7, 2011

First United Methodist Church, San Diego School of Christian Studies (SDSCS)
San Diego, CA
Oct. 1 - Oct. 31, 2011

Valparaiso University, Chapel of
the Resurrection

Valparaiso, IN
Oct. 14 - Nov. 5, 2011

Find a gallery near you >

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Contact:The Saint John's Bible, Liturgical Press, Saint John's Abbey, PO Box 7500, Collegeville, MN 56321
Phone: 1.800.654.0476 or 320.363.2213

© Copyright 2011, Order of Saint Benedict, Liturgical Press, Collegeville, MN. All rights reserved.