Crosses etched on the granite stones behind the chapel of Saint Panteleimon

2 comments to Crosses

  • Richard Saloom

    Were the stones used in the construction of the various chapels and St. Catherine’s quarried on site?

    • Father Justin

      The only local stone is granite. All of the early constructions are made from granite that was quarried and hewn on site. Scholars have detected areas where they quarried the granite for the monastery, and the area in the basin of the Prophet Elias where they quarried the granite used to construct the sixth century chapel at the peak of Mount Sinai.
      I have often wondered how they quarried the pillars in the basilica, which are single shafts of granite. And how did they place them in position? Wood is scarce in this desert, and timbers for scaffolding would need to be brought from a great distance.

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