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Saint John Climacus

The fourth Sunday of the Fast is dedicated to the memory of Saint John, Abbot of Sinai and author of The Ladder of Divine Ascent. On this day, four of us set out to celebrate the Divine Liturgy in the small chapel below his cave.

We began to descend into the valley at the first light of day.

It had rained the previous day, and at one point we had to step across a swiftly flowing stream.

The white dome of the chapel visible for the first time in the distance.

As we reached the chapel, a ray of sunlight shone through the clouds on the mountain behind the chapel.

The cave of Saint John Climacus.

Wildflowers were blooming in the area. These were the first flowers of springtime.

Twisted Almond Tree

The twisted almond tree at the Chapel of Saint Gregory of Sinai was in full bloom, weeks after the trees at the monastery had bloomed. It is much colder up in the mountains.

Saint Panteleimon

I was able to spend the first three days of the Fast at the Chapel of Saint Panteleimon. The chapel has been there for many years. A kelli was added adjacent to the chapel about forty years ago. The peak of Mount Saint Catherine is visible in the distance. In the silence of these remote chapels, the day is measured by the arc of the sun, and the night by the passage of the the moon and stars. It was the occasion to step back into the Sinai of centuries ago.

Almond Tree

An almond tree in the morning light.

Almond Blossoms 4

Almond Blossoms 3

Almond Blossoms 2

Almond Blossoms 1

Almond Buds

The almond trees are beginning to bloom.

Doors to the Trapeza

The doors to the refectory are set with panes of coloured glass.