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Children head to Rome to present Pope with Bible.

Byline: Tony Henderson Reporter

ABIBLE created by pupils from 140 North East schools will be presented to Pope Francis at the Vatican tomorrow.

The work is a young people's version of the Codex Amiatinus, which was produced by monks at the twin monastery of Wearmouth-Jarrow.

Exactly 1,300 years ago, Abbot Ceolfrith, of Wearmouth-Jarrow, set off on a journey to Rome with the Bible as a gift to Pope Gregory II.

To mark the anniversary, schools in Sunderland and Jarrow contributed pages of illuminated text and drawings to the 2016 Bible and 12 pupils will be part of the inter-denominational delegation which meets the Pope tomorrow.

The project has been funded by Sunderland City Council, South Tyneside Council and the Parish of Jarrow, and has been driven forward by St Peter's and St Paul's churches which now stand on the site of the twin monasteries.

The leather-bound volume will be put on permanent display at the Vatican, copies will also go on show at St Paul's Church in Jarrow and St Peter's Church in Sunderland.

The Bible Society is also printing 1,200 copies, with one going to each of the participating schools and the rest for general sale. Councillor John Kelly, Sunderland City Council portfolio holder for public health, wellness and culture, said: "The presentation of the Children's Codex to Pope Francis at the Vatican will be a proud moment for us all.

"It will represent not only the religious significance of the original and our community's historic literary contribution to the world, but also our community's commitment to keeping those cultural traditions alive for future generations."

Coun Alan Kerr, deputy leader of South Tyneside Council with responsibility for culture and leisure, said: "The Children's Codex has been a momentous project.

"It has allowed our communities to celebrate and mark the historical and religious significance of our area."

Graham Nicol, project co-ordinator from St Peter's Educational Activities for Kids, added: "Our pilgrimage which like 1,300 years ago started at St Paul's and St Peter's, took in Lambeth Palace this time to have the Codex blessed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, but its destination and purpose is the same."

Among the delegation are pupils from St Anthony's Girls' Catholic Academy.

Katrina O'Neil, 15, said: "I find it exciting that we are recreating a religious and historical moment." Classmate Leah Tubman, 15, said: "I feel honoured to be given this opportunity and hope I do my family and school proud," while Ashlin Roy, 15, added: "I feel ecstatic that I am going to Rome, and also feel nervous to meet the Pope."

A replica of the original Codex is on display at the former Bede's World site in Jarrow, which re-opened on Sunday after nine months of closure.

The Codex Amiatinus was one of three great single-volume Bibles made at Wearmouth-Jarrow.

The remaining original is the earliest one-volume Latin Bible to survive in the world.

Ceolfrith's died on the journey to Rome in 716 at Langres monastery in France and his followers took the Codex Amiatinus on to Rome and presented it to the Pope.

The later history of the book is unknown until it reappeared at the monastery of San Salvatore at Monte Amiata in Italy.

It is currently housed in the Laurentian Library in Florence.

The whole book has more than 2,000 individual pages.

I feel ecstatic that I am going to Rome, and also feel nervous to meet the PopeAshlin Roy


Church and civic leaders joined school children at St Peter's Church in Monkwearmouth, with the 'Codex Amiatinus' which will be presented to the Pope tomorrow at The Vatican Raoul Dixon /
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Oct 25, 2016
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