The gift presented by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI to Her Majesty The Queen during his recent visit to Edinburgh has gone on display at the Palace of Holyroodhouse. This rare manuscript, known as the Lorsch Gospels, is a magnificent illuminated Gospel Book collection written 1,200 years ago. Sumptuously illustrated, it includes images more than 400 pages written entirely in gold ink on vellum. The facsimile edition presented to The Queen combines all parts of the manuscript in one volume for the first time in five hundred years, complete with reproductions of the ivory covers.
The manuscript was written in the early 9th century at the court of the Emperor Charlemagne (747 to 814) in Aachen, Germany, and was first recorded in the Imperial Abbey of Lorsch around 860. The binding of the original manuscript was mounted with ivory panels depicting the Virgin and Child with St John and the prophet Zachariah, and the figure of Christ. The manuscript remained at Lorsch Abbey until 1556 but was split into two before it left the Abbey and at some point the front and back covers were also removed. The back cover is now in the Vatican Library and the front cover is in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
The Queen welcomed His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI to the Palace of Holyroodhouse on his first Papal Visit to the United Kingdom last month. The Queen received The Pope for a private audience and exchange of gifts in the Morning Drawing Room. The Queen presented The Pope with a facsimile edition of drawings by Hans Holbein the Younger in the Royal Collection.
Palace of Holyroodhouse, 0131 556 5100 or www.royalcollection.org.uk
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