Thursday, July 22, 2010

I made it to Sinai. Wow what a spiritual experience. I have my pictures on Picasa again. Here is a link to them.

A little background on where I went. St. Catherine's Monastery is the site of the Burning Bush where God spoke to Moses and told him to free the Israelites from slavery by the Egyptians. And during the Exodus from the Egptians gave us the 10 Commandments on top of Mt. Sinai.

The Monastery is located right at the foot of Mount Sinai. St. Catherine's Monastery is more than the burning bush or the Mount. It was built in the 4th century, it is one of the world's oldest monasteries and houses the second largest (after the Vatican) collection of codices and manuscripts, most of which are written in Greek, Coptic, Arabic, Armenian, Hebrew, or Syriac. This is the smallest Diocese in the world and also one of the oldest continuous Christian Churches. The main church of the complex, was completed in 551 by Justinian, a Roman Emperor. It is now a Greek Orthodox Church and Monastery. I was not allowed to take pictures inside, so you will not be able to see any interior shots. In the year 628, Muhammad granted a Charter of Privileges to the monks. It consists of several clauses covering all aspects of human rights including such topics as the protection of Christians, freedom of worship and movement, freedom to appoint their own judges and to own and maintain their property, exemption from military service, and the right to protection in war. They still have the letter from Muhammad. And because of that, there is also a Mosque inside the walls. This helped it from being destroyed by different conquerors. Even Napoleon was here after he captured Egypt and assisted the Monks in their need with many gifts. The Ossuary or Skull House contains the skulls of 1400 years' worth of monks who have lived, prayed and died here. They are buried for two years and because of the desert there are only bones left after that. And they are taken into the house. Moses' Well is also here. This is where Moses met his wife for the first time and after the Exodus brought the Israelites here because there was water. It’s no longer used for drinking water but it is still used to water the Burning bush and other vegetation on the property. The roots of the plants stretch to the well. And this is also at the base of the Mt Sinai where people lost faith in God, created an idol to worship instead and then repented and followed the one God again.

After touring the Monastery and Museum, I climbed Mt. Sinai. 3.1 miles up and 3.1 miles down. I took the two different ways. Going up a steep path and then 750 steps straight up. Then I went down 3,750 Steps of Penitence. They are really not steps, but well places stones and boulders. What a spiritual journey. I can see why God picked this place to speak to his people again. It is breathtaking at the top. The top still gets covered by clouds.

So ends another adventure. Hope you enjoy the pictures. When you get to the page hit the slideshow and then F11 for full screen. You can change the time each picture is on the screen and also go backwards and forwards.