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A priceless Gospel

cuthbert_02The St Cuthbert Gospel, the earliest surviving intact European book and one of the world’s most significant books, has been treasured (in Stonyhurst College Library) by the British Jesuits since 1769. They have now sold it to the British Library, where it has been on loan since 1979. This palm-sized leather-bound copy of the gospel of St John was produced in the late 7th century and is still in its original 7th century leather cover, which has survived in perfect condition. It is believed to have been buried with St Cuthbert on Lindisfarne in 698, and survived the journey when the monks fled from Viking raids two centuries later, taking with them their treasures, the body of the Northumbrian saint, and sacred objects he had owned. It will be on display for half the year in the British Library and half in Durham Cathedral.

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