Giant Bible returns to England after 1300 years

London, Dec 3: A bible half-a-meter thick and made from the skin of 500 animals is to return to England where it was first made for the first time in 1,300 years, the British Library has said.

The Bible, known as the Codex Amiatinus, was created by monks in northern England in the early part of the eighth century and then taken as a gift to the pope in what is now Italy, Xinhua reported on Saturday.

It has remained there ever since, for more than 1,000 years in a monastery and since the 18th century in a library in the northern Italian city of Florence.

The Bible, bound in leather and containing all the books of the bible written on the hides of sheep and cows, known as vellum, is set to return to be the centerpiece of an exhibition at the British Library in London.

"It is the earliest complete manuscript of the Bible in latin," Dr Claire Breay, head of medieval literature at the British Library was quoted as saying.

It was made in Northumbria in northern England in the eighth century, as the abbot of the monastery at Wearmouth-Jarrow commissioned three giant bibles, said Breay.

The Bible was written out in hand, letter by letter by a team of monks who would have laboured for months over the task under the leadership of head abbot Ceolfrith. 

As a consequence few Bibles were ever produced and the ravages of time mean that even fewer are left.

Bound copies of the whole Bible were very rare because it was huge.