A replica bible which took 10 years to create was blessed in Jarrow on the 1,300th anniversary of it;s original departure for Rome.
The Codex Amiatinus was one of three single-volume Bibles made by monks at Wearmouth-Jarrow. It is the earliest one-volume Latin Bible to survive in the world.
Last night a replica, created in Italy, was blessed at St Paul’s Church at Jarrow, on the site of the monastery where the Venerable Bede lived and worked.
The blessing was carried out by the Bishop of Jarrow, the Rt Rev Mark Bryant, and the Catholic Bishop of Newcastle and Hexham, Bishop Seamus Cunningham.
After being blessed, it was then processed to the former Bede’s World museum, about 60 yards away.
Its creation is due to the dedication archaeologist and academic Dame Rosemary Cramp, who almost 10 years ago tried but failed to persuade Italian authorities to allow her to commission a replica of the Codex.
Two-and-a-half years ago she was encouraged to try again – and met with success.
The Friends of the World of Bede, which promotes knowledge of the educational and cultural importance of the world of Bede and the values of scholarship, innovation and community which his monastery practised, and of which Dame Rosemary is a committee member, then set about raising the required funds.
This has allowed a replica to be made from a digital photographic record taken around a decade ago from the only surviving original, which now resides in the Laurentian Library in Florence.
Dame Rosemary said: “This has been a long process of trying to get this perfect replica to Jarrow.
“I think what swung it for us was that it is going to be displayed at the place where Bede lived and died.
“In 2000 there came a time when the Codex was rebound and advances in technology meant a replica could be done providing something close to the original.
“One was made for Monte Amiata and, having heard of that, we thought that one should also be in England where it could be seen, and it was for that reason that we requested permission that one could be made.
“A number of smaller ones exist, but that was not what we wanted – we wanted one the exact size and colouring of the original. A lot of people have asked to be allowed to make a full size replica, but it has not happened.
The three originals, written in Latin calligraphy, were made of velum which came from calf hides. The new version is made of a type of special paper used by a Florence company called La Meta.