Monastery Saint Catherine


The Monastery of Saint. Catherine is one of the world’s oldest operating monasteries, situated on Mount Sinai’s summit; It’s where Moses received the Ten Commandments from God. The “Sacred Monastery of the God-Trodden Mount Sinai” is its official name; But it is more often known as Saint Catherine’s Monastery.

It was built between 548 and 565 AD by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I (527–565 AD) to shelter monks who had been living on the Sinai Peninsula since the 4th century AD.

The Greek Orthodox monastery of Saint Catherine is located on Mount Sinai, and over 5,000 feet (1,500 meters) above sea level, in a tiny valley north of Mount Ms in the Sinai Peninsula. The monastic foundation, also known as the Sinai Independent Greek Orthodox Church; is the tiniest of the independent parishes that make up the Eastern Orthodox church.

The brotherhood elects the abbot of the monastery; who is also the archbishop of Sinai, Paran, and Raithu, and the Greek Orthodox patriarch of Jerusalem consecrates him. St. John Climacus was an early abbot of the monastery.

Despite the fact that the monastery was previously under the jurisdiction of the Jerusalem patriarch, Constantinople recognized its independence in 1575. The number of monks is around 36; Also, it includes those who live in annexes (metochia) throughout Egypt, particularly in Cairo and Suez. Among the Church of Sinai’s laity, several Christian Arabs worked at the monastery and as fishermen on the Red Sea shore (Tor, formerly Raithu). On the other hand, the monastery’s guardians have always been Muslim Bedouin Arabs from the area, and the monastery has always kept them.

The Monastery Tour

Within the enclosed courtyard, the ornately embellished 6th-century Church of the Transfiguration boasts a nave flanked by huge marble columns and walls covered with brilliantly gilded icons and murals. At the church’s eastern end, a gilded 17th-century iconostasis separates the nave from the sanctuary and the apse; which houses St Catherine’s remains (off limits to most visitors).

One of the monastery’s most stunning artistic marvels is the 6th-century mosaic of the Transfiguration; which is high in the apse above the altar and difficult to see through the chandeliers and iconostasis. The monastery’s hallowed sanctuary, the Chapel of the Burning Bush, is to the left and below the altar, and they close it to the public.

The monastery compound has a descendant of the original burning bush; however, the area immediately surrounding it is now walled off due to people snipping bits of the bush to take home as blessings. Those who drink from the Well of Moses, a natural spring near the burning bush; many people think they experience marital bliss.

The magnificent Monastery Museum is located above the Well of Moses and is the highlight of each monastery tour. Moreover, many of the monastery’s artistic treasures, including some of the world-famous collection’s remarkable Byzantine-era icons, are on display (with labels in Arabic and English). Moreover, many precious chalices, gold and silver crosses, and antique writings are on display. In the museum’s basement room, parchments from the Codex Sinaiticus, the world’s greatest near-complete bible, are on display.