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Europe’s Oldest Book Has Been Found in Coffin of a Saint!

This October, the British Library will be showcasing a very interesting relic in their new exhibit on Anglo Saxon kingdoms. Europe’s oldest and best preserved book will be on display for the public to view. For any who don’t know anything about the St. Cuthbert Gospel, here’s some background on the Europe’s most ancient, readable tome.



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Image via Diocese of Westminster Youth Ministry



Saint Cuthbert was regarded to be the patron saint of northern England. After his death in 687, the saint became more well known for his remains, as they didn’t submit to decay for over ten years. This miracle lead to a small following of cult like tendencies which worshiped the dead saint. It was shortly after this, in 697, that someone placed the book on the saint.


Known as the Saint Cuthbert’s Gospel or Stonyhurst Gospel, the book is a copy of the Gospel of John. It was not uncommon for people to pay tribute to saintly figures during the time of Cuthbert’s death, and many have concluded that the book was left as a talisman for the dead saint to have in the afterlife.




Image via NPR



The Stonyhurst Gospel will be on display on October 19th at the British Library. However, this isn’t the only artifact to be showcased; the library is having their Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms: Art, Word, War, exhibit with many other relics from the past. In addition to the exhibit, the British Library also has the entire Saint Cuthbert Gospel online to read, so be sure to read up on all the medieval knowledge you desire!



Featured Image via Wikipedia