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St. Benedict's to showcase rare Bible

The St. John's Bible.

St. Benedict’s Health Center, of Dickinson, was chosen as host site for the Heritage Edition of the Saint John’s Bible during its tour of North Dakota in mid-April.

This opportunity came through a partnership between Benedictine Health System and the College of St. Scholastica, Duluth, Minn., to honor the 125th anniversary of their sponsor, the Sisters of St. Scholastica Monastery.

“It’s a great opportunity to be energized in growing of love and knowledge of scripture,” said  Bernie Krebs, St. Benedict’s director of spiritual care. “We want the community to touch it, to see it, to read it so that it would sink deeply into their spirituality.”

The Saint John’s Bible is the first handwritten and illuminated Bible commissioned by a Benedictine monastery since the advent of the printing press more than 500 years ago.  Noted for its vibrant illuminations and calligraphy, the one-of-a-kind Heritage Edition is a full-size edition of the original manuscript created under the direction of Donald Jackson.

Utilizing ancient techniques and materials, its construction parallels that of its medieval predecessors  -- written on calfskin vellum and using turkey, goose and swan quills, natural handmade inks, hand-ground pigments and gold leaf gild -- while incorporating modern themes of the 21st century.  Each letter was rendered by hand. Only 299 sets of the Heritage Edition were created.

In the tradition of great medieval Bibles, the Saint John’s Bible measures two feet tall and three feet wide.  The Heritage Edition was printed on 100 percent cotton paper using lightfast ultraviolet inks. Gold and silver treatments replicate the original gold, silver and platinum used in the original illuminations.  Because many of the illuminations required finishing treatments by hand, no two Heritage Edition sets are identical. Once the pages were complete, each volume was hand-bound using Italian calfskin, Welsh oak boards and headbands hand-sewn in Pakistan.

The goal of the Bible is to ignite the spiritual imagination of people of all faiths.  It is a prophetic witness to the word of God and an expression of the Benedictine vision:  "That in all things God may be glorified.”

Framed prints of images from the Bible will be on display from the private collection of JP Frame and Western Edge Gallery owners Jeff and Peggy Anderson. Theirs is the only gallery in North Dakota where prints can be ordered for framing.

More information on the Bible can be found at


Open house viewing hours:

Wednesday, April 18:1-8 p.m.

Monday, April 23: 1-4 p.m.

Tuesday, April 24: 1-4 p.m.

Wednesday, April 25: 1-8 p.m.

Thursday, April 26: 1-4 p.m.

Friday, April 27: 1-4 p.m.

Monday, April 30: 1-4 p.m.

Tuesday, May 1: 1-4 p.m.

Wednesday, May 2: 1-8 p.m.