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A Year with The Saint John's Bible Archives

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Cristina Vanin
Associate Professor
519-884-8111 x 28266
One of the page picture from St John's bible
A Year with The Saint John's Bible Archives

The Saint John’s Bible is the first completely handwritten and illuminated Bible since the invention of the printing press more than five hundred years ago. It was commissioned by Saint John’s Abbey and University and was created by Donald Jackson, Senior Scribe to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s Crown Office, along with an international team of calligraphers and artists.


In 2017, St. Jerome’s University celebrated having two volumes of the Heritage Edition on campus - Gospels and Acts and Pentateuch. A number of events, lectures, weekly page turnings, a Messiah Concert, and media coverage, took place during this "Year with The Saint John's Bible" as listed below.


The volumes - Gospels and Acts and Pentateuch - have remained on display at the university.


November 13-17, 2017
Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies Exhibit

St. Jerome’s University hosted an exhibit of manuscripts from the Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies (PIMS) of St. Michael’s College, Toronto. The community was invited to visit the Academic Centre (SJ2) Atrium to see these incredible historical pieces.


December 9, 2017
Messiah Concert with Saint John’s Bible Illuminations

Messiah is always a beloved Christmas tradition. In 2017, it was a feast for the eyes as well as the ears! The timeless beauty of Handel’s music presented by the Grand Philharmonic Choir, was combined with the breathtaking images of hand-crafted illuminations from The Saint John’s Bible. A pre-concert presentation by Fr. Eric Hollas, OSB (“The Challenge of Making the Word of God Come Alive on a Page”) was also featured at this event, which took place at Centre in the Square, Kitchener. All seven volumes of The Saint John’s Bible, were also on display, courtesy of the Diocese of Hamilton.


March 10, 2017
Fr. Michael Patella, OSB, the chair of the Committee on Illumination and Text for The Saint John’s Bible, presented a public lecture entitled: “Bugs in the Bible: An Intertextual Approach.”


Lectures in Catholic Experience

The Saint John's Bible was featured as the topic of two of the Lectures in Catholic Experience, one of which took place during the celebratory year.


On November 17, 2017, Lisa Fagin-Davis, Executive Director of the Medieval Academy of America presented Writing the Bible: From 7th Century Northumberland to 21st Century Minnesota. Medieval manuscript scholar Lisa Fagin-Davis traced the development from the earliest Latin versions to the contemporary Saint John's Bible.


Scripture scholar Jonathan Homrighausen followed on February 1, 2019, with Illuminating Justice: The Ethical Imagination of The Saint John's Bible. During this lecture Homrighausen used biblical scholarship, Church teachings, and interviews with the artists, to show how this Bible intertwines beauty and justice to stimulate the ethical imagination of its beholders on matters of justice for women, care for creation, and dialogue between Jews and Christians.


To learn more about all of the Lectures in Catholic Experience please click here.

Media Coverage

March 20, 2017 - Waterloo Region Record Newspaper

Local paper, Waterloo Region Record, featured a story about the Heritage Editions housed at St. Jerome's University during A Year with the Saint John's Bible.


June 9, 2017 - CBC Radio - Tapestry
Find out more out The Saint John's Bible by listening to a recording of the CBC Radio’s Tapestry program, featuring an interview with St. Jerome’s University’s Associate Dean, Cristina Vanin. 


September/Fall 2017 - The Scribe
Read the publication dedicated to The Saint John's Bible.

Weekly Page Turnings

Every Wednesday at 11:45 a.m. members of the St. Jerome's University community gathered in the Academic Centre (SJ2) Atrium for the weekly turning of the Heritage Volume, Gospels and Acts pages. Each week featured a new beautiful passage or illumination throughout the celebratory year.


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