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Saint John’s Abbey and University and GHR Foundation
Present Rare Bible to Library of Congress in Honor of Pope Francis Apostles Edition of The Saint John’s Bible presented in Private Reception with the Pontiff Following Remarks to Congress

Saint John’s Abbey and University, Collegeville, Minnesota today presented the Library of Congress with a gift of the Apostles Edition of The Saint John’s Bible, a work of art with more than 1,130 pages and 160 illuminations that reflect life in the modern era. The gift was made possible by Minneapolis-based GHR Foundation and is the first handwritten and illuminated Bible commissioned by a Benedictine monastery since the invention of the printing press, more than 500 years ago. The Bible will join the Library of Congress’ collection of rare spiritual texts and will be on public exhibition beginning Saturday, Sept. 26.

The gift of this Apostles Edition, made possible by GHR Foundation, was made in the presence of Pope Francis, following his address to a joint meeting of Congress, in acknowledgement of the Pope’s devotion to scripture; his concern for the poor, sick and marginalized and for the dignity of all people; his care for creation; and his commitment to justice for all. The Librarian of Congress, James H. Billington, received the Bible on behalf of the American people. Also present at the ceremony in House Speaker John Boehner’s office were Speaker Boehner, U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), who chairs Congress’ Joint Committee on the Library of Congress, Saint John’s University President Dr. Michael Hemesath, Abbot John Klassen, OSB and GHR Foundation CEO Amy Goldman.

The original manuscript of The Saint John’s Bible is held at Saint John’s Abbey and University in Minnesota, a Benedictine institution. There are only 12 sets of the Apostles Edition in existence, including the one donated to the Library. A separate set was presented to the Pope and is available to scholars at the Vatican Library. The Saint John’s Bible is an unprecedented combination of ancient methods and materials, with themes, images and technology of the 21st century. Saint John’s Abbey and University partnered with world-renowned calligrapher Donald Jackson, senior scribe to Her Majesty the Queen’s Crown Office at the House of Lords in London, England, to create this masterpiece.

The Apostles Edition of The Saint John’s Bible will be displayed on the north side of the Great Hall of the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St., S.E., in Washington, D.C. Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015 through Saturday, Jan. 2, 2016. The Bible can be viewed Monday through Saturday, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

“The Library of Congress is truly honored to receive this priceless work of human creativity and divine inspiration in honor of Pope Francis’ visit,” said Dr. Billington.

The Bible will be available to researchers for study as part of the Library’s extensive collection of Bibles and religious texts from all the world’s religions, including one of only three perfect copies in the world of the Gutenberg Bible and the Library’s Giant Bible of Mainz, a hand-illuminated Bible contemporaneous with the Gutenberg.

The Saint John's Bible and its limited fine art editions resulted from a long collaboration among scholars of scripture and theologians at Saint John's Abbey and University in Collegeville, Minnesota and a team of artists and calligraphers led by Donald Jackson in his scriptorium in Wales, in the United Kingdom. Under the direction of expert calligrapher Jackson, who served as senior scribe to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth's Crown Office at the House of Lords, teams of illuminators created The Saint John's Bible entirely by hand using quills, illuminating it with precious metals and paints manually ground from precious minerals.

Illuminated Bibles throughout history have depicted the times and places in which they were created, and The Saint John's Bible is no exception. The illuminations bring to life familiar scriptural passages from a modern perspective, both in terms of conveying a multicultural humanity and representations of science, technology, and space exploration, in addition to other more contemporary historical events.

The Library of Congress, which collects books, manuscripts, photographs, films, sound recordings and knowledge in many other formats from around the globe in more than 470 languages, is the home of an extensive array of materials reflecting the world’s broad and varied religious heritage. Its holdings range from the Gutenberg Bible and a collection of more than 1,500 other Bibles to Jewish Talmuds, Tibetan texts, ancient Buddhist scrolls and rare editions of the Qur’an.

Additional information:
Saint John’s University: Established in 1857, Saint John’s University is one of the oldest institutions of education in the Midwest and is among the top-rated Catholic liberal arts colleges in the nation. Nationally recognized for its promotion of character and values development, Saint John’s is a community committed to academic excellence, social justice and leadership. www.csbsju.edu Additional information on The Saint John’s Bible can be found at www.saintjohnsbible.org

GHR Foundation: GHR Foundation applies entrepreneurial creativity and universal Catholic values in the areas of health, education and global development. Started in 1965 by Gerald (Gerry) A. and Henrietta (Hanky) Rauenhorst, founders of the Opus companies, the Foundation seeks transformational change in health, education and global development, and partners with the world’s experts to achieve impact. www.ghrfoundation.org

Library of Congress: Founded in 1800, The Library of Congress is the nation’s first-established federal cultural institution. The Library seeks to spark imagination and creativity and to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, publications, programs and exhibitions. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its website at www.loc.gov.
What is the gift being given in honor of Pope Francis to the American people?
In honor of the visit by His Holiness Pope Francis to the United States, Saint John’s Abbey and University, Collegeville, Minnesota, presented a gift of the Apostles Edition of The Saint John’s Bible to the Library of Congress on Sept. 24, 2015. This gift was made possible by GHR Foundation.

The gift was presented to the Librarian of Congress Dr. James Billington. Others on hand for the presentation ceremony included: Pope Francis; House Speaker John Boehner; U.S. Senator Roy Blunt; Saint John’s University President Dr. Michael Hemesath; Abbot John Klassen, OSB; and GHR Foundation CEO Amy Goldman. The Bible will go on display in the Library of Congress from Sept. 26, 2015 to Jan. 2, 2016.

When was the gift in honor of Pope Francis given?
The presentation took place in the U.S. Capitol as part of a private ceremony following Pope Francis’ address to a joint session of Congress on Sept. 24, 2015.

What is The Saint John’s Bible?
The Saint John’s Bible is the first handwritten and illuminated Bible commissioned by a Benedictine Monastery since the invention of the printing press. According to experts, the last complete handwritten, illuminated Bible was commissioned at the end of the 15th century.

The Saint John’s Bible was designed to foster the arts, to ignite the spiritual imagination of people around the world, and to give voice and expression to underserved communities. Though handwritten on vellum in the ancient style of scriptural illumination, this modern masterpiece incorporates depictions of contemporary images to illuminate Biblical stories.

Why was The Saint John’s Bible chosen to honor Pope Francis?
The gift was chosen to commemorate the Holy Father’s visit to the U.S. in light of Pope Francis’ devotion to Scripture and the themes that the Pope holds dear: hospitality; concern for the poor, sick and marginalized; the dignity of all people; care for creation; and justice for all.

What will the Library of Congress do with The Saint John’s Bible?
The Apostles Edition of The Saint John’s Bible will be housed in the Library of Congress and placed on public display from Sept. 26, 2015 through Jan. 2, 2016 alongside the first printed Bible, commonly known as the Gutenberg Bible, and the Giant Bible of Mainz, one of the last manuscript Bibles written before the invention of printing in the West. After the period of public display, The Saint John’s Bible will be available for viewing as part of the rare books collection at the Library of Congress to anyone over the age of 18 with a valid government-issued identification. It will also be used for educational purposes and private group viewings.

What makes The Saint John’s Bible unique?
The Saint John’s Bible is extremely rare. There is one original manuscript housed at the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library on the Saint John’s University campus in Collegeville, Minnesota. There are only 12 Apostles Editions in existence, and this fine art edition is an unprecedented combination of ancient methods and materials with themes, images and technology of the 21st century.

What is the purpose of The Saint John’s Bible?
The Saint John’s Bible was designed to foster the arts, ignite the spiritual imagination of people around the world, and give voice and expression to underserved communities.

What features make The Saint John’s Bible relevant to today’s audiences?
Though handwritten on velum in the ancient style of scriptural illumination, this modern masterpiece incorporates depictions of contemporary images to illuminate Biblical stories, including the Twin Towers of New York City, strands of DNA, satellite photos of the Ganges River Delta and photos from the Hubble telescope.

The illuminations present Adam and Eve as an African man and woman; they incorporate patterns from many cultural traditions, including Jewish, Middle Eastern and Native American, as well as other modern representations of science, technology and a multicultural humanity.

What are the physical features of The Saint John’s Bible?
The Saint John’s Bible is an impressive work of art with more than 1,130 pages and 160 illuminations, measuring 2 feet tall, 3 feet wide when open. The original manuscript was handwritten and illuminated by a team of scribes and artists who worked almost 15 years on the artwork’s creation.

What is the value of the Bible, and was public money used to support the creation or presentation of the Bible? The Bible is an extremely rare work of art, and is therefore priceless. The gift was made possible by GHR Foundation and was commissioned by Saint John’s Abbey and University. No public funding was used to support the creation or presentation of the Bible. The Saint John’s Bible project was funded through the private donations of approximately 1,500 individuals, groups and corporations. It was not financed by the University.

Who created The Saint John’s Bible?
Saint John’s Abbey and University partnered with world-renowned calligrapher Donald Jackson, senior scribe to Her Majesty the Queen’s Crown Office at the House of Lords in London, England, to create this masterpiece. Donald Jackson is considered one of the world’s foremost Western calligraphers and has trained and encouraged many of America’s top calligraphers. He has described this project as the “Sistine Chapel” for a calligraphic artist, a supreme challenge and truly historic undertaking. He led a team of calligraphers and artists writing and illuminating the Bible.

Did The Saint John’s Bible creation involve other religious traditions?
The design and creation of The Saint John’s Bible was also an interreligious effort. Episcopalian, Protestant and Jewish advisors helped to form the vision of The Saint John’s Bible, serving as consultants and as members of committees dedicated to assisting Donald Jackson in the creation of The Saint John’s Bible.

Which version of The Saint John’s Bible is being given to the Library of Congress?
The Bible on display at the Library of Congress is one of 12 Apostles Editions. The Apostles Edition, the most exclusive and limited fine arts edition of The Saint John’s Bible, consists of seven volumes. Saint John’s Abbey and University presented the Pentateuch, the first volume of the seven volume set, in person to the Librarian of Congress. The remaining six volumes will be delivered to the Library of Congress over the next year to be added to the Library’s permanent collection and for public viewing.

How many Apostles Editions are in circulation and where do they reside?
Four of the 12 Apostles Edition Bibles have been acquired. In addition to the version presented to the Library of Congress, one is at the Vatican, one at the Morgan Library and Museum in New York City; and the fourth is privately owned.

How was this gift made possible?
The gift was made possible by GHR Foundation and was commissioned by Saint John’s Abbey and University. No public funding was used to support the creation or presentation of the Bible. The Saint John’s Bible project was funded through the private donations of approximately 1,500 individuals, groups, and corporations. It was not financed by the University.

GHR Foundation made the gift to Saint John’s University to present The Saint John’s Bible in recognition of Pope Francis’ historic visit to the United States and a shared concern for the poor and commitment to global collaboration.

How has Pope Francis previously been involved with this bible?
In 2008, GHR Foundation funded an effort to present the first volume of the Apostles Edition of The Saint John’s Bible to Pope Francis’ predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI. In April 2015, GHR Foundation also had the pleasure of presenting Pope Francis with Letters and Revelation, the last completed volume of the St. Peter Apostles Edition of The Saint John's Bible at the Vatican.

How is the Library of Congress gift different than what was presented to the Pope at the Vatican?
This is an entirely new Apostles Edition being presented to the Library of Congress than what is now permanently housed in the library of the Vatican Museum. This gift will ensure this important work of art will be on view in the Nation’s library near the Gutenberg Bible and other seminal religious texts.

Where can I learn more?
More information regarding The Saint John’s Bible can be found here: www.saintjohnsbible.org

Information regarding Saint John’s Abbey and University can be found here: www.csbsju.edu/about/saint-johns-university

Information regarding GHR Foundation can be found here: www.ghrfoundation.org/about.html

More information regarding the Library of Congress’ Bible Collection can be found here: www.loc.gov/exhibits/bibles/
The Presentation
In honor of the visit by His Holiness Pope Francis to the United States, Saint John’s Abbey and University, Collegeville, Minnesota, presented a gift of the Apostles Edition of The Saint John’s Bible to the Library of Congress on Sept. 24, 2015. This gift was made possible by GHR Foundation.

The presentation took place in the U.S. Capitol as part of a private ceremony following the Holy Father’s address to a joint session of Congress.

The gift was presented to the Librarian of Congress Dr. James Billington. Others on hand for the presentation ceremony included: Pope Francis; House Speaker John Boehner; U.S. Senator Roy Blunt; Saint John’s University President Dr. Michael Hemesath; Abbot John Klassen, OSB; and GHR Foundation CEO Amy Goldman.

The Saint John’s Bible will be on display in the Library of Congress along with other notable religious texts including the Gutenberg Bible and the Giant Bible of Mainz.

The gift was chosen to commemorate the Holy Father’s visit to the United States in light of Pope Francis’ devotion to Scripture and the themes that the Pope holds dear: hospitality; concern for the poor, sick and marginalized; the dignity of all people; care for creation; and justice for all.

The Saint John’s Bible
The Saint John’s Bible is the first handwritten and illuminated Bible commissioned by a Benedictine monastery since the invention of the printing press in the 15th century. With more than 1,130 pages and 160 illuminations, the Bible measures 2 feet tall and 3 feet wide when open.

Saint John’s Abbey and University, Collegeville, Minnesota, partnered with world-renowned calligrapher Donald Jackson, senior scribe to Her Majesty the Queen’s Crown Office at the House of Lords in London, England. Donald Jackson led a team of scribes and artists who worked for nearly 15 years to create this masterpiece.

The Saint John’s Bible project is comprised of the original handwritten Bible, 12 fine art, handwritten Apostles Edition versions and 299 Heritage Edition reprints. The original Saint John’s Bible is housed at Saint John’s University.

The Bible on display at the Library of Congress is one of 12 Apostles Editions. Four of the 12 Apostles Edition Bibles have been acquired. In addition to the version presented to the Library of Congress, one is at the Vatican, one at the Morgan Library and Museum in New York City; and the fourth is privately owned.

The Saint John’s Bible was designed to foster the arts, to ignite the spiritual imagination of people around the world, and to give voice and expression to underserved communities. Though handwritten on vellum in the ancient style of scriptural illumination, this modern masterpiece incorporates depictions of contemporary images to illuminate Biblical stories.

The Gift
The gift was made possible by GHR Foundation and was commissioned by Saint John’s Abbey and University. No public funding was used to support the creation or presentation of the Bible. The Saint John’s Bible project was funded through the private donations of approximately 1,500 individuals, groups and corporations. It was not financed by the University.

GHR Foundation made the gift to Saint John’s University to present The Saint John’s Bible in recognition of Pope Francis’ historic visit to the United States and a shared concern for the poor and commitment to global collaboration.

GHR Foundation
GHR Foundation, a private, family foundation grounded in entrepreneurialism and universal catholic values, is focused on transformational change in education, health and global development.

The Foundation works to foster hope and opportunity where it is needed most. In 2015, GHR Foundation awarded more than $17 million in grants to 103 organizations globally.

More information regarding The Saint John’s Bible can be found here: www.saintjohnsbible.org

Information regarding Saint John’s Abbey and University can be found here: www.csbsju.edu/about/saint-johns-university

Information regarding GHR Foundation can be found here: www.ghrfoundation.org/about.html
Michael Hemmesch
mhemmesch@csbsju.edu
Office: (320) 363-2595
Cell: (320) 290-3753
                                           

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