Saint John's Bible

bible banner

Saint Agnes has joined renowned institutions like Yale and Pepperdine universities, and the Vatican Library and Vatican Museum of Art – and is the only hospital in California – to display a full-size fine art reproduction of The Saint John’s Bible.

This monumental work of art, which brilliantly illustrates the word of God, is the first completely handwritten illuminated Bible commissioned by a Benedictine Order in more than 500 years. Master calligrapher Donald Jackson, Senior Scribe to Queen Elizabeth II, articulated a vision to produce such a Bible as early as 1970. He proposed the project to Saint John’s Abbey and University in 1995, and it was commissioned in 1998. 

The final pages were delivered by Mr. Jackson in 2011. The entire work is divided into seven volumes, and each volume stands two feet tall by three feet wide when open. The original manuscript is made of calfskin vellum, with 160 major illuminations and more than 1,100 pages created by an international team of calligraphers and artists.

In addition to his artistic direction of The Saint John’s Bible, Mr. Jackson is the creative director of The Saint John’s Bible Heritage Edition. Illuminated in gold and silver, these full-scale limited editions are true to the artistic intent of the original manuscript. In making these exquisite volumes, so much was done by hand that no two sets are identical – they are works of art in their own right.

Thanks to the generous support of donors, colleagues and physicians, Saint Agnes is blessed to own one of only 299 seven-volume Heritage Edition reproductions of the Bible, now on permanent display on the second floor of our North Wing.

The Saint John’s Bible may be viewed in the Medical Center's North Wing entrance during hospital visiting hours.

For more information, or to make a donation, please contact Foundation at (559) 450-2040, or