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Almond Blossoms

The almond trees bloom during the first warm days of spring. For a few weeks, the bees have an abundance of nectar and pollen.

Sunrise from the Cave of Saint John Climacus

Sunrise from the door to the cave of Saint John Climacus. An overhanging boulder projects above.

The first light of day appears in the east.

As the light increases, the chapel in the distance becomes visible.

The first light of day is rose coloured.

As sunrise approaches, the light changes to blue.

The first rays of sunlight illuminate the chapel below.

The Cave of Saint John Climacus

The cave of Saint John Climacus, an enclosed space beneath massive boulders.

We read in the Life of Saint John Climacus, composed by Daniel of Raithou,

Σημείοις δὲ πέντε διεστηκυῖαν τοῦ Κυριακοῦ τὴν τῆς παλαίστρας μονίαν εἰληφῶς, (Θολᾶς δὲ ὄνομα τῷ τόπῳ) τεσσαράκοντα χρόνους ἐκεῖ διεπέρανεν ἀνολιγώρως, ἐν διακαεῖ ἔρωτι καὶ πυρὶ πυρπολούμενος ἀεὶ τῆς θείας ἀγάπης.

Having taken a solitary place of struggle five miles distance from the Kyriakon (Thola is the name for the place), he passed forty years there earnestly, ever burning with inflamed longing and the fire of divine love.

Storks Migrating

On March 11, just at sunset, a thousand storks flew high overhead, migrating north for the summer.

A detail of the third photograph at full resolution.

Storks spend the winter in Africa, from Kenya and Uganda all the way to South Africa. They migrate north for the summer, spreading across an area from the Caspian Sea to the Baltics. They avoid flying over the Mediterranean, because the air thermals on which they soar do not form over water. Their major migration route takes them directly over the Sinai peninsula.

February Snow

The snow was heavy, but it did not last long. After half an hour, the cloud lifted, and patches of blue sky appeared.

Snow Cloud

In February, the monastery was engulfed in a snow cloud.

Plotinus 1580

Among the Classical Greek printed books is an edition of the Enneads by the third century philosopher Plotinus, edited and compiled by his student Porphyry. The volume was printed in Basel in 1580.

The Ladder 1590

The Sinai library has fourteen copies of The Ladder of Divine Ascent, printed in Venice in 1590, and ten copies of The Spiritual Homilies of Saint Isaac the Syrian, printed in Leipzig in 1770.

Beautiful Bindings

The library has six copies of Κατὰ Ὠκέλλου περὶ τῆς τοῦ Παντὸς Φύσεως, by the clucer Ioan Geanetu (Jean Zanetti), translated by Georgios Bendotes, who was born on Zakynthos in 1757. The book was printed in Vienna in 1787, in parallel Greek and French.

First Edition Philokalia

The Sinai library has several copies of the first edition of the Philokalia, published in Venice in 1782. This large folio volume contains advanced texts on prayer, spanning from the fourth to the fifteenth centuries, compiled by Nicodemus the Hagiorite and Macarius of Corinth. Included in this volume are the spiritual treatises by Hesychius of Sinai, and Philotheus of Sinai.