The Saint John's Bible

Our Year with The Saint John’s Bible

With the invention of the printing press, so went the practice of writing the bible by hand—until Saint John’s Abbey in Collegeville, MN, produced a 1,165-page handwritten, gold-illuminated bible in 2011.

A limited edition of one of the seven volumes of The Saint John’s Bible is on loan to Saint Luke’s until January 2020.

The large, red leather-bound manuscript features the bible stories of the New Testament’s Gospels and Acts. This beautiful volume is distinguished by its contemporary gilded artwork and exquisite calligraphy. It is a 21st century work of art in the spirit of medieval manuscripts.

Word Made Flesh, Donald Jackson, Copyright 2002, The Saint John’s Bible, Saint John’s University, Collegeville,Minnesota USA. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


Our parish has greeted The Saint John’s Bible with great enthusiasm and sense of mission. Some of us are drawn to it by an interest in scripture, others through its art and still others as a way to bring the word to an often-skeptical secular community.


We use and display Gospel and Acts during Sunday services and offer parishioners opportunity to view it individually and in group settings through bible study classes, lectures and the Sunday Pathways series. 


We developed an art program for the Sunday school and Confirmation classes are using the Bible in their services and study. In collaboration with the Darien Arts Center, we offered calligraphy and gilding workshops this past spring.


An enthusiastic group of parishioners have been trained as docents and are available to share The Saint John’s Bible with individuals and small groups. The docents have accompanied the bible to many local book group meetings, assisted living facilities, and other houses of worship. It is a very rewarding ministry, that attracts those with an appreciation of art and an interest in better understanding scripture.

Alli, Digital Storyteller for the Episcopal Church in Connecticut, visited Saint Luke’s to experience the Saint John’s Bible and posted an illuminating story of her experience.

Please contact the office if you would like to learn more about The Saint John’s Bible.

Sermon on the Mount, Thomas Ingmire, Copyright 2002, The Saint John’s Bible, Saint John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota USA. Used by permission. All rights reserved

The Process

The original Saint John’s Bible took eleven years to complete by an international team of six calligraphy masters and six artists. This enormous undertaking was spearheaded by Donald Jackson, the official scribe to Queen Elizabeth II. It was Jackson who first dreamed of the idea and presented it to Fr. Eric Hollas, a Benedictine monk at Saint John’s Abbey and faculty member of Saint John’s University. For more information on The Saint John’s Bible go to the website: