"Not only to know God, but to be known by Him."
At present the monks are preparing for an important presentation for the Egyptian Minister of Antiquities. The Greek ambassador and other ministers from Greece will be there as well. This will include a report on the palimpsest project (manuscripts where the original writing has been covered by later writing), as well as discussion of further plans regarding ongoing photography of the Monastery's Syriac and Arabic manuscripts.
St. Catherine’s Librarian, Father Justin, is looking forward to moving the ancient manuscript collection, including the New Finds discovered in 1975 (which included pages from the world’s most precious manuscript of the Old and New Testaments, Codex Sinaiticus), into new library quarters funded by the Saint Catherine Foundation (an organization that only supports projects related to the icon and manuscript collections but not most other expenses of the Monastery). The goal is to have 3300 manuscripts in place within four weeks, and the early printed books in place by September, a monumental work.
Important progress has also been made on the renovation started because of decaying structures in monastic cells in the wing housing the Monastery library. Friends of Mount Sinai Monastery (FMSM) is helping to support this work. Insulation and sheetrock have been installed in the ceilings and new wall facings placed. Old plumbing, which had developed leaks both in the rooms and within the walls, has been replaced. Dangerous wiring has also been replaced, which was a fire hazard in the building housing the ancient manuscript collection. By the end of the year, it is hoped that most of the monks will have returned to their own cells.
Groups of pilgrims are coming down from Jerusalem, and tourists are visiting every day. With direct flights from Mumbai to Sharm el-Sheikh, there are now a number of visitors from India. Direct flights have resumed from Europe, but the UK and Russia have not yet approved the resumption of direct flights.
Above all, daily divine liturgies continue to be celebrated by the world’s oldest monastic community, with prayer for all the world, on the Holy Mountain where the Lord revealed His will to those who wish not only to know God, but to be known by Him.
FMSM is receiving about $350 in monthly automatic donations, along with other periodic donations, for a total close to $9,000 in general donations for the first half of the year. This might not seem like a dramatic addition to the Monastery’s financial security, given the enormous monthly cost of keeping St. Catherine’s fully functioning and open to the public, but the board finds it an encouraging beginning which others may choose to increase. Fully 100% of donations reach the Monastery, as the board covers expenses.
On behalf of the monks, FMSM wishes to express appreciation for the donations received in support of this priceless legacy. The Monks wish God's blessing to you all.
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