is a wonderful Royal Destination due to its history and its natural environment.
Source picture: Wikipedia
Who is St. Catherine?
St. Catherine of Alexandria was a Christian martyr sentenced to death on the
breaking wheel. When this failed to kill her, she was beheaded. According to
the tradition, angels took her remains to Mount Sinai. Around the year 800,
monks from the Sinai Monastery found her remains. The official name of the
monastery is: the Sacred Monastery of the God-Trodden Mount Sinai. Now the
monastery has become a famous pilgrimage.
St. Catherine - Source: Wikipedia
More about the history
The oldest record of monastic life at Sinai comes from a woman named Egeria.
The text was written in Latin between 381 and 384. She visited many places
around the Holy Land and Mount Sinai.
It was here that, according to the Old Testament, Moses received the
Ten Commandments from God.
The monastery itself was built by order of Emperor Justinian I (who reigned
between 527 and 565). The St. Helen's Chapel was ordered by Empress
Consort Helena, the mother of Constantine the Great.
St. Helena, Source picture: Wikipedia
During the Ottoman Empire, the mosque was in bad condition, in the
early 20th. century this was restored.
The monastery also received a 9000 rubles gift from Tsar Alexander II
Source picture: Wikipedia
The monastery library preserves the second largest collections of early
codices and manuscripts in the world, only outnumbered by the Vatican
In the monastery there also is a copy of the Ashtiname of Muhammad, in
which the Islamic prophet Muhammad is claimed to have bestowed his
protection upon the monastery.
Many icons can be seen at the monastery. The oldest icon based on an
Old Testament theme is preserved there.
St. Catherine's foundation
The St. Catherine's foundation is a UK-based non-profit organization that
aims to preserve the monastery. The conservation of its architectural structures,
paintings, books and many more, is the Foundation's purpose.
The Royal patron of the St. Catherine's foundation is HRH the Prince of Wales.
The American Associates of the St. Catherine's foundation has
Prince Hassan bin Talal of Jordan as its royal patron.
A visit to the St. Catherine's monastery
I visited the St. Catherine's monastery in 2008, with a tour guide. I traveled
from Taba (Egypt) through the Sinai Peninsula, passed many military check
points to reach this amazing Royal Destination. The monastery itself didn't
impress me much, however the surroundings were magnificent.
Unfortunately, that day, my camera broke down, so I couldn't take any
pictures of the monastery and Mount Sinai, except this one :-)
Sinai - Egypt - own picture taken in 2008