Saint Catherine's Monastery

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    • Day 6

      Katharinenkloster und Mosesberg Teil 1

      February 12 in Egypt ⋅ ☁️ 17 °C

      Heute waren wir mit Silvana und Alexandra, zwei Krankenschwestern aus Berlin, die auch aus unserem Hotel sind, auf dem Sinai im Katharinenkloster, die Fahrt dauert 1.5 - 2 Std. und führt an mehreren Polizei.- bzw. Militärstationen vorbei und durch schöne wüstenhafte und bergige Landschaft. Bei einigen Felsformationen und einer Höhle machen wir Halt.
      Schon der Weg dorthin ist ein Erlebnis. Hier im Katharinenkloster hat Moses nach der Flucht aus Ägypten, seine Frau Zipora, die Tochter des Priesters von Midian an einem Brunnen den man heute noch sehen kann, kennen gelernt. Hier steht auch der brennende Dornbusch aus dem Gott zu Moses sprach, und hier hat er dem Volk Israel die 10 Gebote überbracht als er vom Berg Sinai (Horeb) herunter kam. 🙏
      Das Kloster steht inmitten einer spektakulären, felsigen Gebirgslandschaft.

      Ausführliche Informationen:…
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    • Day 126

      St. Catherine's Monastery, Sinai

      April 19, 2018 in Egypt ⋅ ☀️ 73 °F

      On Friday we reached the high point of the entire cruise for me—St. Catherine’s Monastery in the Sinai Desert. We had been here before in 1994, but back then the monastery did not admit visitors. Additionally, back then everyone on our bus except Glenda was sick with food poisoning. Glenda had eaten only salted peanuts and nabs that she carried with her.

      The monastery is in the middle of absolute, freakin’ nowhere. We had to drive through the desert for 3 hours to get to St. Catherine’s. It was begun by St. Helena, mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine, on her tour of the Holy Land in 330 A. D. She spent two years in the Middle East collecting relics, and attempting to determine the locations of events mentioned in the Bible. There is a mountain here where God gave the tablets of the law to Moses. This is Mount Sinai. Or at least that’s what the folks here told Constantine’s mama. Oh, by the way, they also have the burning bush here, and a well that Moses dug.

      OK. Sounds good.

      However, there are a few other things that attracted my attention to this place. First, it contains the oldest library in the world still in existence. Secondly, it contains the oldest Christian icons in the world. Thirdly, it MAY contain the oldest Christian Church in the world. But the really important thing for me at St. Catherine’s is a Biblical manuscript written in the mid-fourth century by the monks here. Because it comes from Sinai, it has become known as the Codex Sinaiticus. It is the oldest copy of the Bible in existence. It is so important that the abbreviation for its name is the Hebrew letter A (Aleph). As far as Biblical textual studies are concerned, this is the alpha text.

      The story of the discovery of this document is “colorful.” In 1844 a German Count named von Tischendorf, with too much time and money on his hands, decided to go to the Middle East to, well, discover stuff. Young European aristocrats were into that kind of thing back then. He returned to St. Catherine’s in 1859. While at the church here, Count vonT said he found a sheaf of old papers lying on the floor with a bunch of other garbage, and noticed that one sheaf was written with Greek capital letters. He knew that such uncial (capital letter) manuscripts were older than others, so he stuffed them into his knapsack. Then he took/bought/stole the manuscript. When he returned to the University of Leipzig—Surprise! Surprise! He had the oldest copy of the Bible ever found. OK, a few books of the Bible were missing, but almost all of it was there.

      Egypt cried “Foul!” So did the monastery. And the argument began. Then, under very uncertain circumstances, the codex mysteriously showed up in Russia. To complicate matters, Stalin sold it to the British Museum in 1933 and they staked a claim to it. Then strangely, in 2003 a letter appeared, supposedly written in 1859 by the Bishop of Alexandria, which documents the sale of the manuscript to von Tischendorf. The fuss and the furor would make a novel that I don’t want to write in this post, but it really got nasty. The good news is that by the time of the mid-20th century all of the concerned parties decided to be nice about sharing the wealth. When I was in seminary we had photocopies of the manuscript on microfiche. Now it’s widely available on the Internet. The parties concerned have even agreed to share the document itself. Sort of. Part of Codex Sinaiticus is now in Leipzig, part at the British Museum, and (hooray!) part of it was allowed to come back home to St. Catherine’s Monastery.

      Today first we went to the library and museum, then to the church. We are most blessed to be allowed to come here. The wonderful people of Viking Cruises have no way of knowing how much they are enriching our lives.
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    You might also know this place by the following names:

    Saint Catherine's Monastery, Katharinenkloster, دير سانت كاترين, Синайски манастир, Pyhän Katariinan luostari, Monastère Sainte-Catherine du Sinaï, מנזר סנטה קתרינה, Katharinaklooster, Katarina-klosteret, Mosteiro Ortodoxo de Santa Catarina, Katarinaklostret

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