Saint John's Bible

A Year with the Saint John's Bible in Winnipeg

This major event is devoted to a single work of art - an illuminated, handwritten Bible commissioned by Saint John's University and Benedictine Abbey in Minnesota. This contemporary Bible is at once old and new: a masterpiece of the ancient crafts of calligraphy and illumination that could only be made by artists of today. The Saint John's Bible was created by professional scribes in a scriptorium in Wales - under the direction of Donald Jackson - one of the world's foremost calligraphers. Begun at the start of the new millennium, this unique undertaking combines a centuries-old tradition of craftsmanship with the latest capabilities of computer technology and electronic communication.

The Making of a Heritage Edition

Although the original Bible itself is priceless and does not tour, the Benedictine Abbey created high quality duplicates called Heritage Editions that reflect the beauty and power of the original Bible itself. It is not an exaggeration to say that the Heritage Edition of the Gospels and Acts of Apostles on display in Winnipeg would not have been possible even when the Saint John's Bible project began in 1998. It was not until very recently that the quality of printing on 100% uncoated cotton paper necessary to providing this level of quality was available.

The paper of the Heritage Edition is designed specifically for this project. The weight and feel of the pages approximate that of the vellum used in the original manuscript. Donald Jackson directed the making of the Heritage Edition throughout every process to assure its fidelity to the original. The pages are printed using state-of-the-art offset lithographic printing technology from Heidelberg Corporation.

Mr. Jackson approved every page before final printing. Correspondence to the original is so important that even the show-through caused by transparency in the vellum is captured on the pages of the Heritage Edition. After printing, gold and silver foils are applied using a series of stamping and embossing processes. In places where results cannot be achieved through mechanical means, highly trained artists hand treated the illuminations.

The Heritage Edition of the Saint John's Bible will be on display throughout Winnipeg and the surrounding region until April 2018.


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