Oldest Christian Monastery Final Resting Place of St. Catherine of Sinai

by P-Francone
St. Catharine's Monastery

St. Catherine’s Monastery is located at the foot of Mount Sinai in Egypt. A mosque was built within the compound but has never been used because is wasn’t pointed correctly towards Mecca when it was built.

St. Catherine’s Monastery was constructed between 527 and 565 AD in Egypt by order of Roman Emperor Justinian, and is said to contain the remains of St. Catherine, apparently brought there by angels. Catherine of Alexandria was sentenced to death on the wheel but the torture failed to kill her so they chopped her head off instead. Her remains were found by monks almost 300 years later.

The monastery is the oldest working Christian monastery, and actually contains its own diocese, the smallest one in the world. The Chapel of the Burning Bush, inside the monastery, is reportedly built on the site where Moses originally saw the burning bush.

This monastery has withstood many attacks over its fourteen hundred years, and protects one of the largest collections of early codices and manuscripts in the world, outnumbered only by the Vatican Library. This site is sacred to Christians, Jews and Muslims. It contains the historical document ‘The Achtiname’, a charter by Muhammad giving protection to the monks of the monastery.

Today the monastery is under the auspices of the Greek Orthodox Church.

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