On very rare occasions, the mountain peaks around the monastery are shrouded in clouds. It is a strange juxtaposition in this desert wilderness.
These photographs were taken at the end of December, 2010. The flag with the monogram of the monastery was still flying from the feast of Saint Catherine.
The marble shrine over the relics of Saint Catherine is decorated for the feast, and all the lamps are lit. The shrine dates from the early eighteenth century, but incorporates a panel with two harts that was part of the original sixth century templon.
At four o’clock in the morning, when we begin services, the light from a single candle reflects off Gospels and liturgical fans that have been ranged across the back of the holy table for the feast of Saint Catherine. To the right, an icon lamp is always kept lit over the reliquary of the saint.
This year many hundreds of pilgrims came to the monastery for the feast of Saint Catherine. Bishop Theophylaktos represented the Patriarch of Jerusalem. Bishop Meletios and Bishop Nicholas represented the Patriarch of Alexandria. They were joined by clergy and pilgrims from Greece, Georgia, and Russia.
Bishop Meletios presided at vespers.
On the feast […]
The brass candlesticks supported by lions have also been polished for the feast of Saint Catherine. They were made by Matthäus Bleul from Nuremberg in 1719.
Every year, Father Michael oversees the polishing of the silver lamps in preparation for the feast of Saint Catherine. The lamps are dipped in soapy water to remove the dust, rubbed with soft cloths in warm soapy water to remove the tarnish, and rinsed in clean water. They dry quickly in the desert air.