The Word of God has been painstakingly recorded, illustrated and passed down through the ages by monks and scribes who dedicated their lives to the undertaking.

Now, for the first time in Hong Kong, an exhibition showcases a selection of bound volumes, prayer scrolls and illuminated leaves from the eastern Mediterranean that meticulously illustrate the Christian Gospel.

“Illustrious Illuminations II: Armenian and Georgian Manuscripts from the Eleventh to the Eighteenth Century”, on show at the University Museum and Art Gallery of the University of Hong Kong, in Pok Fu Lam, features illustrated Armenian manuscripts complemented by a set of Georgian Gospel leaves depicting evangelists.

“Armenian illustrated manuscripts are some of the most lavishly decorated codices of the Christian churches from the Middle East,” says Dr Florian Knothe, director of the University Museum and Art Gallery. “The Gospels are paramount among these, primarily because of the Armenian community’s respect for the sacred texts, revering them in the same way that Greek and Russian Christians regard holy icons.”

The manuscripts have interesting stories in their own right. Such texts were carried into war by Armenian rulers and copies of the Gospels were often given sacred names. It was even believed that they held miraculous powers. The exhibition runs until June 11.