Egypt: St. Katherine’s Manuscripts 1

The monk we spoke to is Father Justin.  After I returned home, my hosts let me know about this amazing article, The Monk Who Would Give us History,  written about him and his work.  Well worth the read.  It explains more about the monastery, why the bush there is unique, and some of the history, as well.  Father Justin is in charge of the manuscripts, and what an awesome responsibility.  The only more valuable manuscript collection on Earth is at the Vatican.  (I noticed the article spells Catherine with a C while my guidebook spells it with a K. Hmmmm….)

Believe it or not, he is from El Paso, Texas.  The article also describes how he came to be here.

He ushered us into this large room, explaining that for years the priceless books were stacked in bookshelves, touching the walls that leaked rain and desert sands.  He has begun the laborious task of protecting and cataloguing them.  They are building proper facilities, he explained.

The first prize he shares with us is a page from the Codex Sinaiticus.  It is thought to be one of the 50 copies of the Bible that Emperor Constantine (272-337) commissioned to produce for the churches in Constantinople.  The manuscript has been preserved at this monastery for 1500 years. 

It is the earliest and most complete surviving copy of the Greek version of the Scripture.

Ironically, this is the story of Balaam, and his talking mule.  My father-in-law’s main mission on this trip was to train our hosts’ mule! I cannot describe how it felt to stand in front of this ancient text.  All of the hands it passed through, all the close calls when Jewish and Christian manuscripts were destroyed by Islamic forces…what a treasure.

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~ by collidescopes on April 18, 2012.

6 Responses to “Egypt: St. Katherine’s Manuscripts 1”

  1. Wonderful ! I am looking for information about the bell tower built in Hagia Sophia -Constantinople. I already knew this engraving where we see on the west side, a square tower which is described as this bell tower. But I have no idea of who wrote this book, which year …. ?
    To see father Justin holding it is just marvelous !!
    Hoping you have the information. Even by enlarging the picture, I can’t read it 😦
    Thank you.

  2. Hello ! Thank your for this prompt answer ! Yes, i enlarged id but unfortunately i was not able to correctly read it . I found a way, and got more information now .
    This book was 1st published in 1824 and then in 1844. But I believe the engraving showing Hagia Sophia might be older. Any idea on this ?

  3. Thank you !
    Yes, this monastery is now closed for tourism. But happily the monks are still there, I hope, they will stay there for the eternity !
    I will try to contact father Justin directly§
    Have a nice day.
    Dom

  4. […] (https://collidescopes.wordpress.com/2012/04/18/egypt-st-katherines-manuscripts-1/) […]

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