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The First Arch

On making the ascent by the ancient Steps of Repentance, pilgrims pass the Chapel of the Oikonomissa, and then climb to the first of two arches.

The arch is visible high above.

A view from the landing below the arch.

On the left, a faint inscription shows a hand with an extended index finger pointing to the Greek word OPOY, ‘of the mountain’, surmounted by a cross. A diagram below directs the pilgrim to pass through the arch and bear left.

Stone Dam

To the left, one can see the ruins of a stone dam built to retain the rainwater. This replenished the wells, and provided water for simple gardens on the high Sinai plateau.

Weathered Boulders

Erosion over many years has weathered massive granite boulders into gentle wave patterns.

View from a Cliff

From the edge of a cliff, the monastery can be seen far below just at sunrise.

Chapels in Dappled Sunlight

The Chapel of Saint Gregory of Sinai viewed from a precipice above, and in the distance, the Chapel of Saint John the Forerunner.

Sinai Hawthorn Blossoms

The Sinai hawthorn tree has small white blossoms. These later set berries that turn red when they are ripe.

Chapel of Saint John the Forerunner

The Chapel of Saint John the Forerunner, on the high Sinai plateau. It is a short distance from the Chapel of Saint Gregory of Sinai. The tree to the left is a Sinai hawthorn (Crataegus sinaica).

A Single Candle

The Chapel of Saint Anne at night, lit by a single candle.

Holy Pascha

The holy night of Pascha. We had pilgrims from Egypt, from Greece, and from Russia. There were many Russian children, a new development for this ancient monastery.

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

Holy and Great Friday

Chanting the Lamentations before the epitaphios on Holy and Great Friday

Ὡς φωτὸς λυχνία νῦν ἡ σὰρξ τοῦ Θεοῦ ὑπὸ γῆν ὡς ὑπὸ μόδιον κρύπτεται καὶ διώκει τὸν ἐν ᾅδῃ σκοτασμόν.

As a lamp of light hid beneath a bushel, now is God’s flesh hid beneath the earth, and it driveth away the darkness that is in hades.