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Generous Gift Brings Heritage Edition of Saint John’s Bible to TAMIU Posted: 12/10/15

Generous Gift Brings Heritage Edition of Saint John’s Bible to TAMIU


St. John's Icon

     This holiday season, a remarkable legacy gift is being presented to Texas A&M International University by The Matias De Llano Charitable Trust.

     The gift is a Heritage Edition of The Saint John’s Bible, a massive seven-volume treatment true to the scale, beauty and artistic intent of the original manuscript, long considered a work of sacred art. TAMIU becomes the first public university in Texas to be home to the Edition, one of only 299 available worldwide.

      The permanent exhibit will be unveiled Tuesday, December 15, 2015 at 10 a.m. in the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library’s Great Room.  Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp will visit the campus for the event.

      TAMIU President Dr. Ray Keck said the gift is remarkable in both its generosity and its spirit.

       “To be singled out as one of the very few homes for this magnificent and inspiring Bible, is truly extraordinary.  The gift, made at the most moving time of our year, is made all the more remarkable because it comes from the generosity of the Matias De Llano Trust, long-time champion and partner of the University. It provides our students and visitors a rare opportunity to see and study the spirit and meaning of this sacred text for generations to come,” Dr. Keck said.

       TAMIU Killam Library director Doug Ferrier said the gift is a treasure to the people of Laredo.

        “The Killam Library is very appreciative to the Matias De Llano Charitable Trust for this opportunity to offer our students and the people of Laredo access to this unique treasure. The St. John's Bible is both an historical and artistic artifact reflective of the culture of Western civilization,” Ferrier said.

Artwork from the Saint John's Bible at TAMIU

            Trust representatives said the gift is in keeping with the charge of the Trust’s forebear, the late Matias De Llano.

            “Mr. De Llano directed that the Trust continue his legacy by helping the community that he lived in and loved.  This special gift expands that legacy of caring and provides a rewarding opportunity to contemplate this sacred text in Laredo,” said Dennis Nixon, chairman of the Trust Committee of The Matias De Llano Charitable Trust.

         Matias De Llano was born in Laredo, Texas in 1918 to Mr. and Mrs. Matias De Llano. One of eight children, he attended Laredo schools as well as the New Mexico Military Academy and was a veteran of World War II.

         His father was the founder of the Texas Hat Company, at one time one of the largest manufacturers of straw hats in the country. De Llano was employed by the Hat Company for many years. He had a zest for life and for helping the disadvantaged. He contributed to many causes, including the Boys and Girls Clubs, the Sacred Heart Children’s Home, and many other charitable organizations. Laredo’s Matias De Llano Elementary School was built and named in his honor.

        De Llano enjoyed many close friendships, including his beloved nieces and nephews, and others. He often said his favorite sport was being with his friends and enjoying life.

        The Matias De Llano Charitable Trust was established on April 1, 2003, under the Last Will and Testament of Matias De Llano. De Llano appointed IBC Bank as sole Trustee of his Trust.  TAMIU, along with other local organizations and schools, has been a long-term beneficiary of the Trust’s generosity.

        An international team of calligraphers and artists produced the Saint John’s Bible Heritage Edition, and its 1,165-page manuscript includes 160 major illuminations that frame a Bible for the 21st Century.  A broad spectrum of artistic styles, including iconography, abstraction, chrysography and illustration combine to create a visual vocabulary for the sacred.

       The seven volumes are bound by hand in a single piece of Italian calfskin leather and adorned with a solid silver clasp. The headbands are hand sewn in Pakistan.  Gold and silver foils are applied using a series of stamping and embossing processes and all illuminations are hand-treated.

       As a Bible for the 21st Century, the Saint John’s Bible incorporates cutting-edge elements.  For example, illuminations are woven to feature strands of DNA and magnified images of viruses.  Satellite photos of the Ganges Delta and photos from the Hubble Telescope depict Creation. Contemporary images are paired with period images to create a text both alive and rewarding.

       Other Heritage Editions of The Saint John’s Bible are located at Yale University, The Vatican’s Library and Museum of Art, Pepperdine University, andSt. Martin-in-the-Fields, London.

       For additional information on The Saint John’s Bible Heritage Edition at TAMIU, please contact the Doug Ferrier, Killam Library director, at 956.326.2400.

       The Killam Library is open Dec. 16 -18 from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. and closed Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 19-20.  It reopens Monday, Dec. 21 and Dec. 22 from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

       The University will begin its State-authorized holiday schedule of operations by closing at noon on Wednesday, Dec. 23.  The campus, Killam Library and offices will remain closed through Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016.  Offices will reopen and full services resume on Monday, Jan. 4 at 8 a.m. The Spring 2016 Semester begins Wednesday, Jan. 20.