Handmade Bible displayed - Catholic Courier

Handmade Bible displayed

Reproductions from one of the first handwritten and hand-illustrated Bibles since the dawn of the printing press more than 500 years ago is on view at St. Joseph Cathedral in Buffalo.

“The Saint John’s Bible — Reproductions of the Illuminations and Texts” will be displayed in the cathedral’s Lady Chapel through March 19.

Irondequoit native Father Michael Patella, OSB, professor of New Testament at St. John’s Abbey and University in Collegeville, Minn., is chair of the committee that is overseeing the project. Father Patella grew up in Rochester’s St. Ambrose Parish and graduated from Bishop Kearney High School.

The Bible is being written in a converted mechanics shed in Wales where world-renowned calligrapher Donald Jackson and his team write with goose quills on vellum sheets. Although they follow traditional methods of medieval craftsmanship, computer-aged layout and reproduction techniques must be used to create the end product.

Each page takes eight to 10 hours to complete, with minor errors being scraped or reprinted and major errors being replaced by a new page. The first volume was completed in 2002 and contains the four Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles. Jackson himself presented this volume to Pope John Paul II at the Vatican in May of 2004. The Pentateuch is the second completed volume and contains the first five books of the Old Testament. The third and most recently completed volume, the Psalms, was finished in April 2004.

Work on the remaining four volumes of the $4 million Bible continues with a completion date of 2007.

In conjunction with the exhibit, Father Daniel Harrington, SJ, professor of New Testament at Weston Jesuit School of Theology in Cambridge, Mass., will present “New Testament Images of Hope” at the St. Joseph’s Cathedral on Thursday, March 9, at 7:30 p.m. The cathedral is located at 50 Franklin St., Buffalo.

Exhibit hours are Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. The exhibit and lecture are free and open to the public.

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