May 22, 2022

Pope to Present Library of Congress with Special Fine Art Bible Edition

UPDATED September 24, 2015 Learn More About the Bible (via LC)

The Library of Congress today received as a gift from Saint John’s Abbey and University an 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, measuring 2 feet tall and 3 feet wide when open. It is the first handwritten and illuminated Bible commissioned by a monastery since the invention of the printing press, more than 500 years ago. The Library will place the rare edition 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. It was exhibited at the Library in 2006, in a three-month exhibition titled “Illuminating the Word: The Saint John’s Bible.” 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.

ORIGINAL POST (August 2015)

From The Hill:

When Pope Francis comes to Capitol Hill to address Congress on Sept. 24, he will present a copy of a special fine art edition of the Bible commissioned by a Minnesota Benedictine abbey to Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and the Library of Congress.


The 1,150-page work was presented to the Pope in April by officials of St. John’s Abbey and University in Collegeville, Minn., and Donald Jackson, the British calligrapher who collaborated with St. John’s to produce the English language bible. The Pope in turn is giving it to the American people.

See Also: The Saint John’s Bible Web Site (via St. John’s Abbey)

See Also: Background About the St. John’s Bible

See Also: Publishing at St. John’s Abbey

VIDEO: The Saint John’s Bible: A Contemporary Illuminated Manuscript (The Getty via YouTube)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.