The actor Sir David Suchet CBE will read the whole of St John’s Gospel from the renowned Jerusalem Chamber at Westminster Abbey in a world premiere to be released on the Abbey’s website on Easter Sunday.
The recording will be broadcast as a streamed premiere via the Abbey’s website at 4pm at: www.youtube.com/c/WestminsterAbbeyLondon/.
The reading will be made available without chargeand will remain online after the streaming premiere. David Suchet said:
‘I count it as a great privilege to be filmed reading St John’s Gospel in the iconic Jerusalem Chamber of Westminster Abbey.’
The Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr David Hoyle, said:
‘When the translators of the ‘King James’ Bible met to agree the final text, they tested it ‘by ear’; they read it aloud. Hearing the gospel is not the same as reading it and having David Suchet read John, in the Jerusalem Chamber, is both exciting and compelling.’
Best-known for playing Agatha Christie’s fictional detective Hercule Poirot, David Suchet became a Christian in 1986 after reading a hotel room Bible. He has read the entire Bible before, for Hodder & Stoughton’s NIV Audio Bible, which has sold over 100,000 copies worldwide – and a previous reading of the whole of St Mark’s Gospel at St Paul’s Cathedral has received over 1.5 million views online.
The Jerusalem Chamber has a long history with Bible translation. Located in the Abbey’s Deanery, the private residence of the Dean of Westminster, it hosted the translation committee for King James I’s Authorized Version of the Bible in 1611, who read the full Bible aloud in the final stages of their work, making this iconic room an ideal place for this new reading.
This new recording of St John’s Gospel will be made available without charge and it is the hope of all engaged in this project that it will prove an inspiration to many as we face a second Easter when we cannot meet as we normally would to celebrate the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. About Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey is one of the world’s great churches, which before the coronavirus pandemic welcomed over two million worshippers and visitors annually. It has a history stretching back over a thousand years with the shrine of the Anglo-Saxon king and saint, Edward the Confessor, at the heart of the building. Since Edward’s death in January 1066, his successor monarchs have come to this church for their coronation, and
seventeen of them lie buried within its walls. In addition to its link with Bible translations, Jerusalem Chamber has hosted another significant moment British history. In 1413 the King Henry IV was taken ill when praying at St Edward’s Shrine in the Abbey before a trip to the Holy Land. He was brought to the Abbot’s house and laid by the fire where he recovered consciousness briefly. King Henry asked where he was and was told ‘Jerusalem’. Shakespeare tells this story of the King’s death in Henry IV, Part II.
Covid-19 has posed the Abbey unprecedented financial challenges and its reserves, built up over years, are being gradually eroded. To find out more about the Abbey please visit www.westminster-abbey.org