The Saint John's Bible August 2009, Vol. 1, Issue 6Forward to a Friend
A busy summer is winding down here at Saint John's. The warmest months in Minnesota brought some of the most exciting events—a campus exhibit of Gospels & Acts, the delivery and viewing of the first new pages of The Saint John's Bible in three years, and a major presentation at Saint Martin-in-the-Fields in London are just a few of the occasions we have enjoyed.  Looking forward, we have even more to anticipate, including several major museum announcements, a visit from Donald himself,  the printing of another Heritage volume and planning for the final mark.  As wondrous as this project has been, truly, the best is yet to come…

Heritage Edition: 
A Gift of Sacred Art

by Jim Triggs

Archbishop Khotso Makhula speaks at St Martins-in-the-Field
Archbishop Khotso Makhula speaks to the congregation with the Wisdom Books and Prophets volumes on display at St Martins-in-the-Field.

“This is a work of art. 
This is a great work of art! 
This is a work for eternity!”

These are the words of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI  as he turned the pages of the St. Peter the Apostle Edition of The Saint John’s Bible for the first time. What is so impressive about his remarks is how succinctly the Holy Father captured the mission of the Heritage Program.

The Heritage Program was established by Saint John’s to work closely with Donald Jackson to create the Heritage Edition, a limited edition, fine art reproduction that is true to the artistic intent of the original manuscript.  Thanks to Mr. Jackson’s contribution, the Heritage Edition is a work of sacred art in its own right which will be enjoyed today and for generations to come.

The presentation to Pope Benedict in 2008 marked the beginning of a journey that has already had a profound impact on churches, colleges and universities, museums, libraries, benefactors, rare book collectors and families around the world. This impact is best described in the words of Heritage Program benefactors, subscribers and recipients:

In June, the Heritage Edition was presented to St Martin-in-the-Fields Anglican Church in London, England. In advance of the presentation, 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.”

Tita Diepenbrock, who donated a Heritage Edition to Santa Clara University, said, “My experience with The Saint John’s Bible was love at first sight. It radiates hope and speaks to all people of all faith journeys.”

Jean Brunel, a Heritage Edition subscriber, said, “The Saint John’s Bible becomes a part of your life, you become a part of history. In 200-300 years, people will still be talking about this magnificent work of art. Our Heritage Edition Bible will be a part of our legacy to our children.”

Earlier in the year, Regis University received the Heritage Edition thanks to the generosity of the Cherne family.  “When we heard about the hand-written Saint John’s Bible, and saw how magnificent and unique it was, we knew the Heritage Edition would be the perfect gift for Father Michael Sheeran in the new Regis chapel,” said Beulah Cherne, “The fine art edition is beyond our wildest expectations and is truly a treasure that all should see.”

These comments reaffirm the original mission of The Saint John’s Bible, which is to ignite the spiritual imagination of people of all faiths and all nationalities.  We encourage you to participate in this mission by visiting one of our partner institutions that have the Heritage Edition on display.  Or, if you would like more information on purchasing or donating the Heritage Edition, please email Jim Triggs, the executive director of the Heritage Program, at

Donald Jackson, artistic director of  The Saint John's Bible, speaking at St Martins-in-the-Field
Donald Jackson, artistic director of
 The Saint John's Bible, speaking at St Martins-in-the-Field.


The Saint John's Bible at St Martins-in-the-Field
The Rev. Professor Richard Burridge, dean of King’s College London, Rev. Nicholas Holtam, vicar of St Martin-in-the-Fields, Dan and Katharine Whalen, Rod Beadles, churchwarden of St Martin-in-the-Fields, Archbishop Khotso Makhulu, assistant bishop of London, and Donald Jackson, artistic director of
The Saint John's Bible.

Historical Books Arrives
at Saint John’s   

Reviewing Historical Books
Director of The Saint John's Bible, Tim Ternes and Linda Orzechowski review newly received pages from Historical Books.

Pages from Historical Books, the sixth volume in The Saint John's Bible and the first to be delivered in over two years, made a safe and uneventful journey to Minnesota last month. Tim Ternes, Director of The Saint John's Bible and Linda Orzechowski, Administrative Assistant, travelled to Wales personally to accept 220 pages from Donald Jackson and his team. The remaining 80 pages are scheduled to be delivered by Donald this fall. In past years, Donald has delivered the volumes and presented them in a private viewing for the Committee on Illumination and Text (CIT). Due to scheduling conflicts this year, it was more prudent for The Saint John’s Bible staff to make the journey. And, really, who would want to pass up a trip to The Scriptorium? When asked of her favorite part of the trip, Orzechowski emphatically declared, “Wales… the Scriptorium, by far! It is absolutely stunning!”

After arriving and settling in with conversation and a cup of tea, Ternes and Orzechowski were led through an extensive explanation of the illuminations, marginalia, and script contained within Historical Books. Donald spoke of struggling with the violence, war and destruction throughout this volume, but in the end arrived at powerful and thought-provoking solutions for many of the challenges. One fascinating development was the selection of insects for the marginalia. Sprinkled throughout the previous volumes are flora and fauna that are mostly native to Minnesota such as Monarch butterflies, crickets and flies. Those found in Historical Books are not so pleasant. The insects depicted are not native to Minnesota and many of them, such as scorpions, Black Widow spiders and Praying Mantis', have deadly and frightening connotations.

The pages arrived at Saint John’s in late July and were given a week to "rest". On July 27th, Tim and Linda formally presented the first 220 pages of Historical Books to the CIT. In another two weeks, Wayne Torborg, Director of Digital Collections at the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library, will set up a temporary studio in the Arca Artium art storage space on campus to begin digitally capturing the images and preparing them for publication. This is a process that can take between 6 – 9 months. If everything stays on schedule, a reproduction volume of Historical Books will be available for purchase early next year.

Next month, Tim will provide a detailed article on the new illuminations and the importance of the Historical Books volume. And, perhaps, we’ll be able to provide you with a sneak peek of some of the illuminations. If you can’t wait, we recommend checking the website often or subscribing to our Facebook page—where weekly updates are posted.

  In This Issue

• Heritage Edition:
  A Gift of Sacred Art

• Historical Books Arrives
  at St. John's

• Upcoming Exhibitions & Events

See the Bible

Print Exhibits

August 17 – September 30, 2009
Memphis Theological Seminary
Memphis, Tennessee

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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

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