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A Dusting of Snow

An icy rain fell through the night. The cats had all found dry and sheltered spots, but they complained bitterly about the cold and damp. In the morning, we could see a dusting of snow on the Chapel of Saint Theodore in the distance.

Sunlight on Rough Plaster

The first morning sunlight shines obliquely across the rough plaster wall of the Chapel of Saint John the Forerunner.

The Nativity of Christ

‘A multitude of the heavenly host.’ Detail of an icon of the Nativity of Christ from the first half of the twelfth century.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. (Luke 2:8-14)

Winter Rains

Through the night of December 31, we had heavy rains. The sun broke through on the morning of January 1, then again that night we had heavy rains with scattered hail. These rains will replenish all the local aquifers with much needed water. The sun returned on Sunday morning as the rain clouds lifted.

Holy Five Martyrs

We have a small chapel dedicated to the holy martyrs Eustratius, Auxentius, Eugenius, Mardarius, and Orestes, whose feast day is December 13.

The Prayer of Saint Mardarius is read at the end of the Third Hour.

Δέσποτα Θεέ, Πάτερ παντοκράτορ, Κύριε Υἱὲ μονογενές, Ἱησοῦ Χριστέ, καὶ ἅγιον Πνεῦμα, μία Θεότης, μία δύναμις, ἐλέησόν με τὸν ἁμαρτωλόν· καί, οἷς ἐπίστασαι κρίμασι, σῶσόν με τὸν ἀνάξιον δοῦλόν σου· ὅτι εὐλογητός εἶ, εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων. Ἀμήν.

O Sovereign Master, God the Father Almighty, O Lord the Only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ, and Thou, O Holy Spirit, one Godhead, one Power, have mercy on me, a sinner; and by the judgments which Thou knowest, save me, Thine unworthy servant; for blessed art Thou unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Scattered Rain Clouds

Scattered rain clouds gather over the monastery at dusk.

Winter Sunrise

The first rays of the sun, rising behind the bell tower and minaret. A pigeon has flown to the top of the minaret to catch the warmth of a new day.

Moon Over Granite Arch

A full moon behind light clouds rises over a natural granite arch surmounted by a cross.

Saints Galakteon and Episteme

This year, five of us climbed to the small Chapel of Saints Galakteon and Episteme for the celebration of the Divine Liturgy. The newly glorified Elder Paisios lived at Sinai from 1962 to 1964, and spent time in prayer and solitude at this hermitage.

The Holy Table in the chapel, with frescoes by Father Pachomius, a monk who died in 1958.

The iconostasion of the small chapel.

There is a spectacular view of the summit of Mount Sinai from the porch of the hesychasterion.

Mountains After Rain

Mountains to the west of the monastery as the clouds lift after rain.