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Turning over a new page in Lindisfarne Gospels
THE priceless parchment pages of the Lindisfarne Gospels will be turned for the one and only time during the medieval manuscript’s three-month stay in the North-East today (Thursday, August 15).
Taking extreme care for the preservation of the 700-year-old calf-skin pages, experts will this morning delicately turn to a stunning full-page portrait of St John the Evangelist at the opening of his gospel.
Over the last six weeks, 45,000 visitors to the much-anticipated exhibition in Durham University’s Palace Green Library have seen two facing pages displaying canon tables, indicating parallel passages between the four gospels.
The full-page illustration, which faces a blank page, will be on display until the event closes on September 30. More than 20,000 tickets have already been booked for the six-week period.
Because of the page-turning, the exhibition will open slightly later than usual today, at 11am.
The newly revealed page will show St John as a young man sitting facing outward and displaying his gospel, while his traditional symbol, an eagle, flies overhead.
John is the only one of the four gospel writers not depicted in profile and writing.
The Lindisfarne Gospels, written in Latin using the Vulgate translation of St Jerome, were created by Eadfrith, a Bishop of Lindisfarne, on Holy Island about 700AD, bound by his successor Bishop Aethilwold, decorated by a hermit named Billfrith and given an Old English translation by Aldred, Provost of Chester-le-Street, in the 10th Century.
The Gospels are on loan to the North-East from the British Library, in London.
The Durham exhibition tells the story of the spread of Christianity in the north, the Gospels themselves and St Cuthbert, to whom they were later dedicated.
It is open daily until September 30 from 10am to 10pm. Tickets are still available.
Meanwhile, many events are taking place across the region to celebrate the Gospels’ return. On Saturday (August 17), an Anglo-Saxons versus Vikings family sports day will be held on Palace Green. Various games are planned from 11am to 3pm.
For more information on Lindisfarne Gospels Durham or to book tickets for the exhibition, visit lindisfarnegospels.com
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