Bring-a-bible bash at church

The Rev Tom Gibbons at St Peter's church with two old bibles donated by parishoner Ian Nicholson
The Rev Tom Gibbons at St Peter's church with two old bibles donated by parishoner Ian Nicholson
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A HISTORIC church is inviting Wearsiders to brush the dust from their old Bibles for an event dedicated to the Good Book.

St Peter’s Church at Monkwearmouth was a world-renowned centre for scripture production at the time of St Bede.

The Reverend Tom Gibbons, the church’s present-day vicar, wants to mark the link between the site and the Bible with a special service on Palm Sunday.

“We’re asking people to dust down their old Bibles and bring them along to church,” he said.  

“People don’t have to be churchgoers to come. I’m sure a lot of people have old Bibles on their shelves, and they can be very interesting.”

Monks at the Wearmouth-Jarrow monastery produced Bibles on vellum by hand in the site’s scriptorium, including the world-renowned Saxon Bible the Codex Amiatinus, which was produced as a gift for the Pope.

The book is the earliest, most-complete Latin Vulgate version of the Bible and is now housed at Laurentian Library in Florence.

Old family Bibles often contain family trees and nuggets of local history, and Mr Gibbons is hoping some interesting antique editions will be unearthed on Sunday.

“I don’t think we’re going to get anything as special as the Codex Amiatinus, but we’ll certainly be looking for some historic versions,” he said.

Mr Gibbons said there would be a dedication to the Bibles as part of the service.

“It’s Palm Sunday, but it’s also a celebration of our Bibles – particularly the Codex Amiatinus,” he said.

The celebration service, which takes place this weekend, is part of a series of events taking place at the church as it gears up to become an A-list visitor attraction.

The twin Anglo-Saxon monastic site of St Peter’s and St Paul’s in Jarrow submitted a bid to become a Unesco World Heritage Site in January and is now awaiting approval.

The Bible event is also part of the build-up to St Bede’s Day on May 25, and Mr Gibbons said the church was planning to hold a special celebration and a number of events to mark the occasion.

The Bible service starts at 11am.

EASTER FUN

FAMILIES are invited to join in Easter fun in St Peter’s churchyard.

Reverend Tom Gibbons is hoping for a sunny Easter Sunday so children can enjoy traditional activities on the day of religious celebration.

He said: “At 10.30am we’ll have the traditional egg rolling competition down the ballast hills in the churchyard.

“It’s a family thing and it’s been going on for quite a long time now, and after that we normally have an Easter egg hunt round the churchyard.”

St Peter’s church is also usually open to visitors, staffed by volunteer visitor guides and welcomers.

The church is open Mondays from 1.30pm – 4.30pm, Tuesdays to Saturdays from 10am – 3.00pm and Sundays after morning services.