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September Sun

Services at Sinai begin at four o’clock in the morning, when the stars are still bright in the clear desert sky. The sun rises during the celebration of the Divine Liturgy some three hours later, filling the bema with light.

The basilica at Sinai faces exactly east. In the winter, the sun rises far to the south. The rays of sunlight do not enter the eastern windows, which are deeply set into the thick stone walls. Around February, as the sun rises farther to the north each day, the first ray of sunlight will enter, slanting to the left. By about the third week in April, the sunlight enters straight into the centre of the church. As spring gives way to summer, the sun rises more to the north, and the sun’s rays enter into the church slanted to the right.

By September, the sun is again rising farther to the south each day, and the sun’s rays are again slanted to the left. With the coming of winter, the sun’s beams will again cease to enter the eastern windows.

2 comments to September Sun

  • Gary Strichartz

    As with other, more ancient cultures, the sun’s ray’s march the progression of the seasons through the windows, doors and other Earth-fixed objects. All are testament to the wonder of God’s created Universe, as etched by our nearest star, the source of light and life on our small planet.
    How can we not be humbled with amazement? How can we not marvel at this ultimate gift? To stand in the presence of starlight, moonlight, sunlight and to allow BEING to penetrate, is that not pure prayer, essence of gratitude.

    Thank you for sharing these images.

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