Nazareth Hospital seeks to bring Bible to life

The hospital will be hosting a high-quality reproduction of a handwritten, illustrated Bible during the month of September.

The Heritage Edition of the St. John’s Bible will be on display at Nazareth Hospital until the end of the month. JACK TOMCZUK / TIMES PHOTO

Every time Trudy Brandon gazed at the picture, an artistic interpretation of the nativity scene, she said it evoked different feelings.

“I just felt like this peace on the inside,” she said. “I bet you the more you stare at this, the more revelations you get.”

Brandon, of Roxborough, works in the telecommunications department at Nazareth Hospital. She participated in a reflection session last week on The Saint John’s Bible Heritage Edition led by Sister Eileen Przybylowski, the hospital’s chaplain.

The heritage edition is a fine art reproduction of The Saint John’s Bible, a handwritten, illustrated Bible commissioned by a Minnesota abbey in 1998. It’s the full-scale of the original, measuring 2 feet tall by 3 feet wide when opened.

Two volumes from the heritage edition will be on display at Nazareth Hospital, 2601 Holme Ave., near the main lobby until the end of September. The public is welcome to view the Bible any time during the day, and special events will also be held throughout the month.

Nearly 300 reproductions are in circulation around the world at various colleges, libraries, hospitals and churches. The original is kept at a museum at St. John’s University in Minnesota.

Thomas Chirdo, the hospital’s director of mission and spiritual care, said he hopes the Bible adds to the hospital’s atmosphere of healing.

“It’s designed to ignite the spiritual imagination,” he said. “When we talk about healing in the hospital, it’s not just physical healing but emotional healing, psychological and spiritual healing.”

The heritage edition contains a number of illustrations, also called illuminations, that include gold and silver foils. Przybylowski asked those who attended the Sept. 14 session to study and reflect on the nativity image.

“Drink it in with your inner senses,” she told the group.

Right: Sister Eileen Przybylowski leads a reflect session Sept. 14 at Nazareth Hospital. The hospital is holding several events related to the Heritage Edition of the St. John’s Bible. JACK TOMCZUK / TIMES PHOTOS

Reflection sessions using the heritage edition will be held at noon Friday, Sept. 21, and Friday, Sept. 28, in the St. Joseph’s Lobby. In addition, on Thursday, Sept. 27, a rabbi will come to lead an event in honor of Sukkot, also known as the Festival of the Booths.

Members of the public are invited to come in and view the Bible any day of the week during normal business hours.

A volume containing the four Gospels and Acts will be displayed until Sept. 24. The second volume, containing the Books of Wisdom, will be available to view during the final week of the month.

For more information, call Nazareth Hospital at 215–335–6000. ••

Jack Tomczuk can be reached at jtomczuk@newspapermediagroup.com