Illuminated text comes to Bunbury

A rare publication, Saint Johns Bible recently visited Bunbury as part of a state tour aiming to have as many people as possible witness its beauty.

Saint Johns Bible consists of seven volumes and is the first completely handwritten and illuminated bible created for 500 years.

A 30-person international team of calligraphers and artists took 13 years to create the Bible's original manuscript of more than 1150 pages including 160 major religious artworks.

Bible Society Australia church and community relations officer Rick Pekan said they wanted to see people engage with the bible throughout the world.

"This idea of reigniting spiritual imagination, the idea that people are interested in this both from a historial perspective, from an artistic perspective but also from a spiritual perspective - it re-ignites something in people that is quite powerful," he said.

Notre Dame University professor Dr Angela McCarthy said it was a fine art artifact.

"This is an enormous project, Rick and I are here because the bible society has sponsored Notre Dame to be custodians of this for 12 months - it comes from Minnesota and the original is in Minnesota," she said.

"It's the word of God, so it's something we want to share but it's in a format that is accessible to all people, the artworks are not medieval or foreign, they are North American and we're used to North American culture so the images speak to us.

"People respond to sheer beauty and when you open up the first page people go wow univerally, they're affected by the beauty and they're open to it."

Worth $25,000 US dollars, it is volume six of Gospels and Acts that has been entrusted to the University of Notre Dame.

"Sometimes the word of God is presented in a very intellectual way, this asks you to tell a story and the art draws you into the story so that's been a fabulous experience for me," Dr McCarthy said.

"You can't underestimate it's importance when we enable it to engage with people."

The bible was on display at St Augustine's Uniting Church during its visit and will be back later this year.