The Saint John's Bible

Open July 8-September 1, 2017


Beginning in 1996, the community of Saint John’s Abbey and University in Collegeville, Minnesota, began planning and working on The Saint John’s Bible, the first handwritten, illuminated Bible commissioned by a Benedictine monastery in five hundred years. The work of creating the Bible involved countless hours of meetings, artist studio time and financial support of almost 1,400 individual donors. On May 9, 2011, the last word of the Bible was penned, bringing the almost 15-year production phase to completion.

This unique undertaking combines a tradition of craftsmanship with the latest capabilities of computer technology and electronic communication. The words are handwritten on vellum (calfskin) using hand-cut quills fashioned from turkey, swan or goose feathers, and ancient inks hand-ground from natural minerals and stones such as lapis lazuli, malachite, and vermillion. The pages are illuminated with the brilliance of 24-karat gold leaf, silver leaf and platinum. The complete work includes 1,127 handwritten pages over 7 books and over 160 major artworks.

The Blue Earth County Historical Society will host a reproduction of The Saint John’s Bible. On display at the History Center will be a replica of the volume containing Gospels and Acts as well as 25 framed prints of artwork from all of the illustrated volumes. This exhibition was made possible by generous support from St. John’s Episcopal Church, Mankato. St. John’s Episcopal Church in Mankato was founded in 1866 and continues to reside on the corner of Warren and Broad Streets in Mankato. 

Saint John's Bible Exhibit