St. Catherines Monastery


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If you have a chance please visit this place. Not an easy place to get to.

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St. Catherines Monastery

  1. 1. St. Catherine's Monastery in the Sinai Desert At the foot of the mountain where Moses is said to have received the Ten Commandments, lies the monastery. Early Christian hermits, searching seclusion from worldly affairs, were living in the are of the holy mountain since the early times of Christendom. After her visit to the impressive site of the Burning Bush, Empress Helena, the mother of Constantine the Great, decided in 330 AD to let a chapel be built at the site. She dedicated it to the Virgin Mary. Mt. Moses, also Mt. Horeb or Mount Sinai and known with its Arabic name Gebel Mussa, is honored by the three great monotheistic religions. The path of Moses, Sikket Sayydna Mussa, starts in a gentle slope and gets steep on the last bit where it ends at the valley of Elijah. It is believed that God appeared in fire to the prophet. The two chapels are dedicated to Elijah. The final steep climb leads over rocky steps to the summit. Just below the summit in a natural hollow in the granite the imprint of a camel’s foot can be made out. Bedouin tradition has it, that here is the place where Prophet Muhammad started his night journey to heaven. The magnificent view from the summit is worthwhile the effort of a 3 hour long climb to the top of Mt. Moses. Arth u r
  2. 2. Wakeup for praying
  3. 3. Getting ready to climb Mount Sinai
  4. 4. Steps Leading to the Peak
  5. 5. Climbing Mount Sinai
  6. 6. Sunrise, the view from Mount Sinai (Mount Moses)
  7. 7. The Chapel of the Holy Trinity on the Peak of the Dialogue (Mount Sinai)
  8. 8. View from the Chapel
  9. 9. In the old days this was the entrance. The monks lowered a rope and pulled you up.
  10. 10. The Bell Tower
  11. 11. Burning Bush
  12. 12. Burning Bush
  13. 13. The Chapel of the Burning Bush is the sacred part of the monastery. Once it contained the Burning Bush, which is replaced outside of the chapel and fenced behind a stone wall. Every Saturday the monks hold their liturgy in the chapel. Anyone entering has to remove his shoes as written in the bible: “…put off thy shoes from off thy feet for the place whereon thou standeth is holy ground...” (Exodus 3:5)
  14. 14. Codex Sinaiticus, (oldest known Bible). This bible is a copy, the original is on display at the British Museum in London.
  15. 15. Saint Catherine's has been a centre of Christian worship and thought for over 1600 years, containing one of the world's most ancient and important libraries. Its 2000 manuscripts in Greek, 700 in Arabic, 300 in Syriac, 100 in Georgian and Armenian, 40 in Slovonic and 1 Latin recall sixteen centuries of Christianity. Unfortunately the Codex Sinaiticus - a bible dating back to the 4th century - was taken from the monastery in 1844 by K.von Tischendorf, a German scholar who sold it to the Tsar of Russia. At a later date, the manuscript found its way to the display cases of the British Museum in London who acquired it from the Soviet government in 1933. A letter from the scholar dated September 1859 promising to return the manuscript after the completion of his studies hangs on the wall of the library of the monastery, without comment.
  16. 16. Interior of the Church of Transfiguration
  17. 17. Iconostasis of the Church
  18. 18. View of the Monastery, Detail of the Wall-painting
  19. 19. Charnel House of the Monastery where corpses and bones of past monks are stored
  20. 20. Over the centuries, thousands of monks have lived and died within the walls of St. Catherine Monastery. Because the monastery's small cemetery is not enough to accommodate their remains, the monks are later re-exhumed and their bones placed in the crypt beneath the Chapel of St. Trifonio, a place also known as the Charnel House. There is probably no better way to grasp the enduring legacy of the monks than to visit the crypt and see the piled host of skulls staring back through the eons in silence.
  21. 21. The Sinai Desert