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Holy Monastery of Saint Catherine at Mount Sinai


The area around Mount Sinai developed into an important monastic centre in the third century AD, when Christian converts persecuted by the Romans fled to the relative safety of the Sinai wilderness. Monastic life gained new impetus after 313 AD, with the Emperor's Constantine's conversion to Christianity. By the latter part of the fourth century, a church had been established at Mount Sinai. Monks gathered here for communal services from widely dispersed hermitages.


Around 550, by order of the Emperor Justinian, a central monastery was constructed with high defensive walls and a three-aisled, timber-roofed basilica. The encircling walls still stand to their full height, while the basilica displays one of the outstanding works of Byzantine art: the great sixth-century mosaic of the Transfiguration in the apse.


Saint Catherine's is the oldest monastery of the Christian tradition. Through the centuries the monastery has survived political and religious upheavals, not only because of its isolation, but also as a result of the symbiotic relationship the monks have maintained with the Bedouin tribes of the Sinai and the peninsula's Muslim rulers. The site of the monastery, at the foot of Mount Sinai, is sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims alike.


The monastery possesses a unique collection of manuscripts, icons and objects of minor art from the 6-20 centuries. Today, it is not only an important centre of Orthodoxy, but one of the greatest treasuries of the world's culture as well.

 


The monastery of St.Catherine at the Mount Sinai.


The court in the monastery of St.Catherine at the Mount Sinai.


The Prophet Moses at the Mount Sinai
Icon - painter Stephanos, early 13th century.


Revelation to Prophet Ilij at the Mount Sinai.
Icon - painter Stephanos, early 13th century.


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