From immemorial time, pilgrims came to Saint Catherine’s Monastery to find inner harmony and enlightenment of the soul. Therefore, a large number of shrines, books and relics have accumulated there. At one time, the pilgrimage to the Temple subsided, but gradually began to revive.
Saint Catherine’s Monastery.
In Egypt, there are many monuments of ancient Christianity. The most popular is the Saint Catherine’s Monastery on Mount Sinai. One of the most ancient, constantly acting throughout its history.
On the mountainside (at the level of 1570 meters), where the three mountains form a small valley, this monastery is located. Founded in the time of Emperor Justinian. It was used at one time as a fortress. The monastery can rightly be attributed to the most beautiful and wonderful in Egypt.
The Monastery was built in 337 AD at the place where “God spoke” to all the people the words of the covenant, that is Ten Commandments received by Prophet Moses.
As a result of this, the empress of Byzantium Elena, ordered that a chapel be established for the pilgrimage of Christians. Therefore, Justinian built walls to prevent attacks and a basilica. Soon a new chapel was built. After half a century the chapel was filled with community.
The Saint Catherine’s Monastery and the Burning Bush began to gain world fame. The monastery was not devastated. This was facilitated by its transformation in the 6th century into a fortress
In the 7th century Arabs came to power in Sinai. The monastery was handed a certificate, confirmed by the Prophet Mohammed. By which the temple was assigned a guaranteed protection by Muslims. In addition, it was exempted from taxes. A mosque was built within the walls of the monastery. As a symbol of the protection of the prophet.
During the Crusades, it was used to protect pilgrims who went to worship the relics of the martyrs. This stage is characterized by the construction of the Catholic Church. A small town grew around the monastery.
In the 16th century, the Turks conquered Sinai, but even with them, a certain independence was preserved.
Now the monastery is subordinate to the Jerusalem Church. Since the third millennium included in the ranks of UNESCO World Heritage Site. It stores many valuable architectural monuments.
Despite the fact that the monastery of St. Catherine is the smallest diocese in the world. While this is the oldest monastery of the Christian world, which works in our time.
The rich history of the monastery has a huge number of icons, ancient manuscripts, priceless of its kind.
The architecture of the monastery.
Throughout the one and a half thousandth history of the monastery, it has never been destroyed. All wars avoided it. And influential patrons in the form of heads of state. Sultans and prophets helped in this.
When Egypt became an Islamic country, it did not bring a negative impact. Inside the monastery, they simply built a mosque. Mosque that united two different religions in one place.
Basilica was built in the sixth century. Its doors are made of cedar of Lebanon. The ceiling is supported by twelve columns of granite. Between the columns there are niches in which the remains of saints and martyrs rest. The temple is filled with ancient frescoes and iconostasis. And on the dome there are wonderful mosaics.
The pride of the monastery is its library. It has more than ten thousand ancient scriptures and biblical texts of the 4-6th centuries. Entry for visitors – from 9 am to noon.
The Chapel of the Burning Bush is the next favorite place of pilgrims who come to Saint Catherine’s Monastery. Now in the chapel in the place where it grew earlier, there is a hollow. The Burning Bush grows near the walls outside.
It is revered by believers of the three religions as a place of revelation, described in the Ten Commandments. In the valley at the foot of Sinai, Moses heard the voice of God coming from a Burning Bush. The Tree is safety protected.
Icon of St. Catherine.
At the beginning of the 4th century, Emperor Maximin from Rome came to Alexandria to take part in a pagan feast. The basis of which was sacrifice. Young and very intelligent Catherine, a representative of a noble family. Tried to convince the emperor to accept the new faith, to refuse to offer sacrifices to the ancient gods. Maximin urged Catherine herself to the opposite. He even made a dispute between her and the philosophers about the choice of religion, in which Catherine won a victory.
Maximin ordered to put Catherine in prison and torture, trying to force her to go to the side of his faith. But this did not happen, and Catherine was executed.
The relics were transferred to the Transfiguration Monastery. In the 11th century, believers became actively revered by Catherine as canonized saints. In honor of Catherine the icon of the same name was written. It depicts a beautiful girl in elegant and expensive clothes surrounded by scrolls and books.
Everyone who visits the monastery takes with it a silver ring with a picture of a heart, in the middle of which is a monogram “K”.
In the Christian Saint Catherine’s Monastery in the tenth century a mosque was built on its territory. This is a political move.
In addition, there are 12 chapels in the monastery. Meals are served in the garden.
Nearby to the monastery was built the settlement of St. Catherine. The main activity of the inhabitants of this city is to provide various services of the tourism and hospitality industry for travelers and pilgrims. Also there are: restaurants and cafes, shops and a shopping center, hotels of different levels.
What to take with you?
Closed shoes with non-slip protectors (better trekking boots).
- Water. For an adult, it is advisable to take at least two liters.
Please keep in mind that there may be no cellular connection on top of the mountain. If you are unsure of your well-being, stock up with the necessary medications.