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Basilica Foundations

Excavations along the south wall of the sixth century basilica reveal granite ashlars resting on bedrock.

A course of field stones was placed against the ashlars. This course is almost five feet below the present ground level.

Saint Panteleimon

I made the ascent yet again to celebrate the Liturgy at the chapel of Saint Panteleimon. I only took one photograph, showing the first sunlight on distant mountains.

Saint Anne’s 2019

Again we were able to celebrate the Liturgy at the Church of Saint Anne on her feast day. Father Iouvenalios is visiting from Jerusalem, and we were joined by four other pilgrims.

We left at 4:30 in the morning for the two hour climb to the little chapel. As we made our ascent, we stopped to rest when the sun’s rays were shining on the highest mountains, with the monastery far below.

The first arch.

The Church of the Prophet Elias. Many Russian pilgrims had gone up in the night, to celebrate the Liturgy at the peak of Sinai, visible in the distance. They were already descending.

A photograph taken at the very end of the service, when the sunbeam had almost ceased to shine in the small chapel.

Feast of the Prophet Elias

It was a joy to celebrate the Liturgy today, with a few pilgrims, at the cave of the holy Prophet Elias.

The lamp hanging in front of the icon of the Prophet Elias.

From the Pilgrimage of Egeria, who visited Sinai in the year 383,

Having then fulfilled all the desire with which we had hastened to ascend, we began our descent from the summit of the mount of God which we had ascended to another mountain joined to it, which is called Horeb, where there is a church. This is that Horeb where was holy Elijah the prophet, when he fled from the face of Ahab the king, and where God spake to him and said: What doest thou here Elijah? as it is written in the books of the Kings. The cave where holy Elijah lay hid is shown to this day before the door of the church which is there. A stone altar also is shown which holy Elijah raised to make an offering to God; thus the holy men deigned to show us each place. There, too, we made the oblation, with very earnest prayer, and also read the passage from the book of the Kings; for it was our special custom that, when we had arrived at those places which I had desired to visit, the appropriate passage from the book should always be read.

Bell Tower at Sunset

The bell tower turns golden in the last rays of sunlight.

Fragile Blossom

A fragile blossom opens on the Burning Bush.

Georgian Inscription

Three abbots and one hieromonk were recently visiting from Georgia. They were able to decipher a Georgian inscription on stone dated to the tenth century.

Here is the transcription line for line:

აჰა მთა
ღვთისა შემწყნარებელი მ
ონანულთაი ხარ          ცო
ლოცვა ყა

Here is the same text written with more natural word breaks:

აჰა, მთა ღვთისა შემწყნარებელი მონანულთა ხარ.
ლოცვა ყავთ.

A translation: Behold the Mountain of God,
which receives those who repent.
— A sinner. Say a prayer.

Newly Renovated Kellia

First sun on the newly renovated kellia below the library.

Mountain Ridge

Advancing shadows at the end of the day distinguish a ridge from the mountain behind it. On the other side of the ridge is the hesychasterion of Saints Galakteon and Episteme. A double barred metal cross is visible on the mountaintop in the distance.

When the Elder Paisios lived at the hermitage, at night he would climb to the top of the ridge, from where the monastery is visible far below. There he would pray for the monks and for the whole world.

Sunrise in Summertime

In the summer, the sun rises far to the north. The first rays of sunlight shine on the valley above the hesychasterion of Saints Galakteon and Episteme. A grackle perches on top of the highest cross of the bell tower.