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Leaven

Three tablespoons of starter are stirred into water, and flour is added to make a paste. Overnight, the starter develops and turns the whole into leaven, ready for making prosphora the next morning.

Ἄλλην παραβολὴν ἐλάλησεν αὐτοῖς· Ὁμοία ἐστὶν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν ζύμῃ ἣν λαβοῦσα γυνὴ ἐνέκρυψεν εἰς ἀλεύρου σάτα τρία ἕως οὗ ἐζυμώθη ὅλον.

Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened. (Matthew 13:33)

Prosphora

With the monastery temporarily closed to visitors, we no longer have pilgrims bringing us durum flour (ἀλεύρι κίτρινο) from Greece. I now make natural yeast (sourdough) prosphora with white flour and twenty-six percent whole wheat flour that we mill ourselves, using a small table top stone ground mill.

Behind the Kitchen

The morning sun on ancient beams in the area behind the kitchen.

New Kittens

The monastery has about ten cats. These are the two newest kittens. They are still quite wild. This is the first time I was able to get close enough to photograph them.

Saint Panteleimon

The peak of Mount Saint Catherine in the distance, photographed at sunset from the Chapel of Saint Panteleimon.

The chapel in early morning light.

Father Michael celebrated the Liturgy, making special commemoration of his father, who was named Panteleimon.

Saint Anne

On Friday, we climbed to the Church of Saint Anne for the celebration of the Divine Liturgy.

Mountain ranges to the east as we climbed up the camel trail. I did not take any photographs before or after the Liturgy, since I knew I would be returning to the chapel the next morning. I spent the night at the kelli next to the Church of Saint Panteleimon.

I returned to Saint Anne’s at 4:30 the next morning in the first light of a new day.

The small chapel in the early morning light.

Candles lit before sunrise.

The first rays of sunlight enter to one side, striking the south wall of the chapel.

As the sun rises, the beam of light comes to rest directly in front of the Holy Table, and at last, upon the Holy Table itself during the celebration of the Divine Liturgy. This little chapel is especially beautiful, and it is a joy to return every year for the feast of Saint Anne.

Prophet Elias 2020

On Sunday, we climbed to the Church of the Prophet Elias, to celebrate the Liturgy on his feast day.

The first light before dawn is rose coloured. This only lasts a few moments before the light changes to blue.

Sunlight on the peak of Sinai as we made our ascent.

The proskynetarion with an icon of the Prophet Elias.

Greek Horologion

Sinai Greek 898 is an Horologion, written in the year 1335.

Sinai has beautiful manuscripts with brilliant illuminations, and letters executed in gold leaf that flash and gleam as the pages are turned. But the library also contains many humble volumes, generally small in size, intended for individual reading. The edges of the pages are stained from long use. Some of them have been repaired with whatever materials were at hand – bindings or even split pages sewn back together with thread in rough stitches. These manuscripts are no less significant, emblems of prayer and devotion, and witnesses to the austerity and privations of Sinai in centuries gone by.

From the Prayers of the Sixth Hour: Ταχὺ προκαταλαβέτωσαν ἡμᾶς οἱ οἰκτιρμοί σου, Κύριε, ὅτι ἐπτωχεύσαμεν σφόδρα. Βοήθησον ἡμῖν, ὁ Θεὸς, ὁ Σωτὴρ ἡμῶν, ἕνεκεν τῆς δόξης τοῦ ὀνόματός σου. ‘Let Thy tender mercies, O Lord, speedily go before us, for we are become exceeding poor. Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of Thy Name’ (Psalm 78:8-9).

Arrow Slit Window

An arrow slit window in the sixth century wall. These windows are narrow on the outside, and wider on the inside, allowing an archer to shoot arrows at an enemy, with little chance of being struck himself.

Whitewashed Wall

When the sun strikes the outside wall of the Chapel of the Holy Apostles at an oblique angle, a few moments before it goes into shadow, the many layers of paint come into sharp relief. I have photographed this wall many times. Here is yet another photograph.