APU Libraries Display Special Collection Exhibit: Advent Voices

by Nathan Foster

Azusa Pacific University’s Libraries will display a special collections exhibit entitled Advent Voices: Waiting Between Time for the Star of the East from Dec. 1-16, 2022 in the Darling Library Rotunda. Curated by librarian Luba V. Zakharov, MA, MTS, MLS, MFA, this exhibit includes a variety of illuminated manuscripts, books, leaves, and images dated from as far back as 1380 A.D.

“The inspiration for this exhibit is Advent, a celebration of longing for the return of Christ who has already come,” Zakharov said. “At APU, people come from so many different religious backgrounds. Not everyone knows the history of these liturgical traditions. The goal is to provide a space for people to come in and reflect on Advent and perhaps glean insight from the voices of those who spoke from that time period.”

Included in the exhibit are illuminated manuscripts and Bibles, including the Saint John’s Bible, which consists of seven volumes, of which only 299 copies exist worldwide. Illuminating means writing each letter by hand and surrounding the text with ornate illustrations, sometimes using solid gold to brighten up the text. Using this process, the St. John’s Bible took 15 years to create. “The intent of illumination is to make the words on the page live, as opposed to running it through a printer,” Zakharov said. “It makes you truly look at each word.”

APU students, faculty, staff, and community members are invited to take in Advent Voices. Zakharov hopes people will make the connections between the individual items to see the flow of the story with its central theme of Advent. “We live in a hurried culture. I hope people will pause for long enough to benefit from reflecting on Advent through the lens of voices from the past,” she said. “After all, advent takes time and turns it on its head, saying this has happened, but it’s also coming in the future.”