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Heritage Edition of Saint John’s Bible Available for Viewing at TAMIU Posted: 1/27/16

Heritage Edition of Saint John’s Bible Available for Viewing at TAMIU


St. John's Icon

Texas A&M International University recently  unveiled a remarkable legacy gift presented by The Matias De Llano Charitable Trust.

The gift, a Heritage Edition of The Saint John’s Bible, was unveiled Dec. 15 in the midst of a crowd including members of The Matias De Llano Charitable Trust; Dennis Nixon, chairman of the Trust Committee of The Matias De Llano Charitable Trust; John Sharp, Texas A&M University System chancellor; Dr. Ray Keck, TAMIU president, and Jim Triggs, executive director of the Saint John’s Bible Heritage Program.

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.

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

The St. John's Bible will be on permanent display at the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library.

“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 Nixon.

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.

Bible everyone

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.

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.

Dr. Keck Bible

TAMIU President Dr. Ray Keck is pictured with Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp and Dennis Nixon, chairman of the Trust Committee of The Matias De Llano Charitable Trust.


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, and St. 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.

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