Bede’s World in Jarrow is currently exhibiting the only existing copy of the Codex Amiatinus.
When I first laid eyes on the full-scale replica of Bede’s Great Bible, it was still packed in boxes on a pallet in the museum’s reception, fresh from its flight from Italy.
To see it on display, in all its glory, is something else.
It took the monks of the Wearmouth-Jarrow monastery more than 20 years to complete the original, written as a gift for the Pope, around 692AD.
For the statisticians, each facsimiled page measures 70x52cm – twice the size of the Lindisfarne Gospels.
The original Codex now resides in the Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana in Florence, away from public view, and the replica itself has never travelled outside of Italy – until now.
Created in Tuscany for the Millennium in 2000, it has come home as part of a three-year Treasures programme at Tyne and Wear Museums.
Mike Benson, director of Bede’s World, described the Codex as one of Christianity’s most important and precious treasures and said the museum was privileged to host the replica.
He added: “I think visitors will be amazed at the sheer size of it, and the beauty and detail of the calligraphy and illustrations – it truly is a masterpiece.”
It will be on show at Bede’s World until September 21, 2014.