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The Play of Light

The sixth century apse mosaic at Sinai depicts the Transfiguration of Christ. His garments are white, with shades of light grey. They are bordered by gold bands, executed in tesserae of light gold, dark gold, and tesserae with gold leaf.

When the light is direct, the gold leaf is bright, and it blends with the light gold tesserae. When the light is oblique, the gold leaf is dark, and it then blends with the dark gold tesserae. This play of light was clearly understood by the artists who created the mosaic so many centuries ago.

Cloudy Morning

A cloudy morning

Olive Trees

The olive trees are in bloom. Some of the olive trees at Sinai are over one thousand years old.

Thursday After Pascha

The Thursday after Pascha was also March 30, the feast day of Saint John, Abbot of Sinai, and author of The Ladder of Divine Ascent.

Νῦν πάντα πεπλήρωται φωτός, οὐρανός τε καὶ γῆ καὶ τὰ καταχθόνια· ἑορταζέτω γοῦν πᾶσα κτίσις τὴν ἔγερσιν Χριστοῦ, ἐν ᾗ ἐστερέωται.

Now are all things filled with light, heaven, and earth, and the regions under the earth. Let all creation, therefore, celebrate the arising of Christ, whereby it is established.

Holy Pascha

Μηδεὶς ὀδυρέσθω πταίσματα· συγγνώμη γὰρ ἐκ τοῦ τάφου ἀνέτειλε.

Let no one bewail transgressions, for forgiveness hath dawned forth from the tomb. (Paschal Homily of Saint John Chrysostom)

Holy and Great Friday

Πρὸ δὲ τῆς ἑορτῆς τοῦ πάσχα, εἰδὼς ὁ Ἰησοῦς ὅτι ἐλήλυθεν αὐτοῦ ἡ ὥρα ἵνα μεταβῇ ἐκ τοῦ κόσμου τούτου πρὸς τὸν Πατέρα, ἀγαπήσας τοὺς ἰδίους τοὺς ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ εἰς τέλος ἠγάπησεν αὐτούς.

Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end. (John 13:1)

Χριστῳ συνεσταύρωμαι· ζῶ δέ, οὐκέτι ἐγώ, ζῇ δὲ ἐν ἐμοὶ Χριστός· ὃ δὲ νῦν ζῶ ἐν σαρκί, ἐν πίστει ζῶ τῇ τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ Θεοῦ τοῦ ἁγαπήσαντός με καὶ παραδόντος ἑαυτὸν ὑπὲρ ἐμοῦ.

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)

Weathered Post

A weathered post supporting a beam behind the Burning Bush

Reflected First Light

The monastery is still in shadow when the first light of a new day shines on the mountain peaks beyond the chapel of the Prophet Aaron.

Bell Tower and Minaret

The bell tower and minaret at sunrise. The cross on top of the bell tower is a favourite perch for doves and grackles in the early morning.

New Shoots

Every spring, the Burning Bush puts out new shoots.

In the year 383, Egeria made a pilgrimage from her native Spain to Jerusalem, after which she continued on to Sinai. It took her twenty-two days to travel along the Mediterranean, down the west coast of the Sinai peninsula, and then east to Pharan and Mount Sinai. She writes,

Propterea autem ad caput ipsius vallis exire nos necesse erat, quoniam ibi erant monasteria plurima sanctorum hominum et ecclesia in eo loco, ubi est rubus; qui rubus usque in hodie vivet et mittet virgultas.

It was necessary for us to come out at the head of the valley, because there were very many cells of holy men there, and a church in the place where the bush is, which same bush is alive to this day and throws out shoots.