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The Entrance to the Cave of Saint John Climacus

Saint John Climacus spent forty years living as a solitary, before being elected Abbot of Sinai.

Προσευχή ἐστι, κατὰ μὲν τὴν αὐτῆς ποιότητα, συνουσία καὶ ἔνωσις ἀνθρώπου καὶ Θεοῦ· κατὰ δὲ τὴν ἐνέργειαν, κόσμου σύστασις, Θεοῦ καταλλαγή.

Prayer, by reason of its nature, is the converse and union of man with God, and by reason of its action upholds the world and brings about reconciliation with God.

(The Ladder of Divine Ascent, 28.1)

Pear Blossoms

A pear tree blooms in a small desert garden.

Agape Vespers

A beautifully embroidered cover for the reliquary of Saint Catherine. The photograph was taken during the Agape Vespers, when we light all of the icon lamps.

Christ is Risen

Νυνὶ δὲ Χριστὸς ἐγήγερται ἐκ νεκρῶν ἀπαρχὴ τῶν κεκοιμημένων ἐγένετο.

But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. (1 Corinthians 15:20)

And as firstfruits, then the token and guarantee of a greater ingathering.

Holy and Great Friday

Ὑπὸ γῆν ἐκρύβης, ὥσπερ ἥλιος, νῦν καὶ νυκτὶ τῇ τοῦ θανάτου κεκάλυψαι· ἀλλ᾿ ἀνάτειλον φαιδρότερον, Σωτήρ.

Thou wast hid beneath the earth like the sun, and covered now by the night of death; but do Thou arise more radiantly, O Saviour.

More Almond Blossoms

More almond blossoms, and another honeybee, poised for half a second before darting off to another blossom.

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.