WAHPETON, N.D.-Scholars call it a work of art and a work of theology.
Historians call it the first handwritten and illuminated Bible commissioned by a Benedictine monastery since the invention of the printing press.
The acclaimed object is the St. James Bible. A high-quality art reproduction of the St. James Bible is currently on exhibition at St. Catherine's Living Center in Wahpeton.
"It's a gift for us to be able to have this for two weeks," said Spiritual Care Services Coordinator Jane Millikan.
Connie Polifka, Wahpeton, said a friend invited her to come view the St. John's Bible.
"It's just beautiful," she said.. "The colors that are brought out, they're so vivid. And the printing that they did with the quill. I'm surprised you can read it but you really can. It's very interesting and I'm glad I came."
The public has a few more days to see the St. John's Bible. Each day at 9 a.m., a session of page turning and prayer will be held. Additional viewing times are as follows:
• 3-5 p.m. Monday, June 18
• 5-7 p.m. Tuesday, June 19
• 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, June 20
• 11 a.m.-1 p.m., Thursday, June 21
A 9 a.m. blessing and farewell is scheduled for Friday, June 22.
"It is hand-finished on each page so that the gold leaf is evident," Millikan said, describing the reproduction. "This also gives it some texture."
The St. John's Bible story begins in 1998. For decades, British calligrapher Donald Jackson wanted to create an illuminated Bible. Illumination is the process where decorations are included with the text.
Jackson observed the monks of St. John's Abbey in Collegeville, Minnesota ,with their Book of the Gospels, understanding the importance of their work with the book.
"(Jackson was) to create a Bible that would capture the beauty and tradition of centuries of liturgy and carry it into the future," explained www.saintjohnsbible.org. "That is the vision that united a calligrapher in Wales with a group of Benedictine monks in Minnesota."
Creating the St. John's Bible was an experience which bridged cultures. According to Millikan, preparation work alone took three years.
"(The team) brought together the ancient techniques of calligraphy and illumination with an ecumenical Christian approach to the Bible rooted in Benedictine spirituality," the St. John's Bible website continued. "The result is a living document and a monumental achievement."
For Jackson, the experience was deeply moving.
"The continuous process of remaining open and accepting of what may reveal itself through hand and heart on a crafted page is the closest I have ever come to God," he said.
In 2015, Pope Francis received one of the only 12 sets of the St. Peter Apostles Edition of Letters and Revelation. Letters and Revelation is the seventh and final volume of the St. John's Bible.
The completed work runs more than 1,150 pages and features 160 illuminations. The final word - 'Amen' - was inscribed in 2011.
St. Catherine's is part of the Benedictine Living Community of Wahpeton, a member of the Benedictine Health System. The exhibition honors the Benedictine Sisters of St. Scholastica Monastery in Duluth. Owners of the Benedictine Living Community, the order is celebrating its 125th anniversary.
"We're able to share this with all the communities within the Benedictine Health System," explained Jim Cornelius, CEO of St. Catherine's. "We have two weeks to show it off to the community and the tenants we have within our facility."
Cornelius is optimistic that attendance will grow.