Children's Codex largeCHURCH AND COMMERCE joined forces in Sunderland to complete the next stage of a religious literary pilgrimage and take the Children’s Codex to be blessed by the Archbishop of Canterbury today (Wednesday).

The world’s oldest surviving Bible the ‘Codex Amiantinus’ transcribed and illuminated at the Wearmouth-Jarrow monastery, left St Peter’s church in Sunderland thirteen centuries ago as a gift from Abbot Ceolfrith to Pope Gregory II in Rome.

As part of the commemoration programme of those events funded by Sunderland City and South Tyneside Councils, the young people of both communities have transcribed and illuminated their own Children’s Codex to follow in the footsteps of that original literary pilgrimage to the Vatican.

Having being blessed by the Bishop of Jarrow The Reverend Mark Bryant at St Peter’s Church in Monkwearmouth last  Saturday, the Children’s Codex has now been taken to Lambeth Palace to be blessed and signed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.

It began the journey south from Sunderland railway station with six children and young people accompanied by adult travelling companions on board the Grand Central Rail service to King’s Cross, courtesy of tickets donated by the train company.

The tickets were awarded after a prize draw in every school involved in the Children’s Codex project, with each individual pupil representing every infant, primary, secondary, Catholic, special educational needs and South Tyneside school.

The visit to London also includes a trip the Houses of Parliament at the invitation of MP for Sunderland Central, Julie Elliott.

Waving the delegation off from the station was the Mayor of Sunderland, Councillor Alan Emerson who said: “I’d like to thank Grand Central for their donation of tickets on their train service to London, their generous gesture demonstrates how this project has captured the imagination of the whole community.

“Every school in Sunderland and Jarrow involved in producing the ‘Children’s Codex’ will be represented by the delegation when they visit the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby at Lambeth Palace to have it blessed. What makes the visit even more special is the fact that none of the six young people selected have been to London  before.

“I’m sure like those who led the original pilgrimage, this delegation led by our children and young people will do our region proud bringing  this latest, literary legacy to the world.”

Managing Director at Grand Central, Richard McClean said: “At Grand Central, we take pride in supporting local communities along our routes and the children in Sunderland have done a fantastic job creating a new Codex. It is a privilege for us to help transport the Codex to be blessed by the Archbishop of Canterbury in London, and create a truly memorable experience for the very creative children of Sunderland.”

Deputy Leader of South Tyneside Council with responsibility for Culture and Leisure, Councillor Alan Kerr, added: “The visit to London and to Lambeth Palace is a wonderful opportunity for our young people.

“I am sure that it will be a truly memorable experience for all the children in the delegation.

“It is exciting that the creative collaborative work carried out by schools in South Tyneside and Sunderland is being showcased nationally before the ‘Children’s Codex’ continues its journey across the globe to Rome.”

The Sunderland and South Tyneside delegation included;
Southmoor Academy – Alice Ward (11)
New Silksworth Infants – Sienna Bainbridge-Bogie (6)
Seaburn Dene – Joe Lawson (8)
St Gregory’s (South Tyneside) – Jamie Pippet (10)
St Joseph’s Catholic School, Washington – Lucie Kilmartin (11)
Barbara Priestman – Dominic Parkin (15)

Lucie, 11, said: “My class was involved with producing pages based on the story of Lazarus , and I was lucky enough to be selected to part of the delegation taking the Children’s Codex to Lambeth Palace.

Dominic, 15, said: “I’m really  excited about going to London, and especially looking forward to going to the Houses of Parliament during our visit.”