Located on the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt, and sitting beneath the mountain where Moses is said to have received the Ten Commandments, Saint Catherine’s Monastery has been one of great centers of religious pilgrimage for over fifteen centuries.
The monastery is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the oldest working Christian monasteries in the world. The monastery library preserves the second largest collection of early codices and manuscripts in the world, outnumbered only by the Vatican Library. It includes Greek, Arabic, Armenian, Coptic, Hebrew, Georgian, and Syriac texts. (see previous post for more on the latest research underway in the library).
According to tradition, Catherine of Alexandria was a Christian martyr sentenced to death on the wheel. When this did not kill her, she was beheaded. The story continues that angels took her remains to Sinai, and around the year 800, monks from the monastery found her remains. Though it is commonly known as Saint Catherine’s, the full, official name of the monastery is the Sacred and Imperial Monastery of the God-Trodden Mount of Sinai.
These photos were taken yesterday on a Nature Travel tour of the monastery. The church is a highlight of a visit here but interior photographs are not permitted, so you really need to visit St Catherine’s with us to experience this.