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The Chapel of the Oikonomissa

Long ago, the monks of Sinai were destitute. They had run out of provisions, and there was no hope of receiving any. Faced with the prospect of starvation, there seemed no recourse but to abandon the monastery. As they were ascending the mountain to pray one last time, the All-holy Theotokos appeared to them, and assured them of her protection. On descending to the monastery, beyond all expectation, a caravan of camels laden with provisions had arrived. The monks built a chapel at the site where the Virgin Mary had appeared, to mark the place, and to remind them of God’s providence. The chapel is called Oikonomissa, ‘Our Lady of the Oikonomos’ (the steward of the monastery).

We came unto a church, wherein abideth Our Lady upon the Mount. Then said the monks to us, that went up the mount with us, how that the monks had not wherewithal to live in the little cloister, and were fain for this cause to remove thence; two monks therefore went up to this little church, and Our Lady appeared to them, very fair indeed, so that they feared greatly, and she said: Go hence, and ye shall find camels, which bring you to eat.

Heinz Skrobucha, Sinai, translated by Geoffrey Hunt (London: Oxford University Press, 1966), p. 80.

5 comments to The Chapel of the Oikonomissa

  • eliza

    Evloghite Father!
    Please can you tell us where is located this chapel?
    I believe that on the bedouin`s road, between the village and the peak of Mount Sinai, I saw a small chapel and nobody can tell somethink about it. It is the same chapel?

    • Father Justin

      If you take the traditional Steps of Repentance, the chapel is about half way up, just before you reach the two stone arches and the Basin of the Prophet Elias.

      • eliza

        Many thanks!
        I will see my photos to remember the location and hope to be there on the Feast of Saints from Sinai in January.
        All Saints protection for all the Fathers from Saint Katherine monastery.

  • Janet Koczak

    Fr. Justin, is this chapel still in use? What is its condition?

    Today the Georgian Orthodox Church marks the Martyrdom of St. George the Great Martyr. By his prayers may you and your brothers at the monastery and all of us be victorious over the Evil One!

    Matushka Jan

    • Father Justin

      The chapel is in good condition. It is larger on the inside than you would expect. We still celebrate the Divine Liturgy there, but not as often as we should.

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