photos of st catherine monastery

The Monastery of the Transfiguration or St. Catherine’s Monastery is located at the mouth of a canyon with difficult access at the foot of Mount Sinai in Egypt. It is built where the tradition is that Moses saw the “burning bush not consumed.” This is one of the oldest monasteries that still inhabited. Also known by the name of the Monastery of the Burning Bush. It belongs to the autonomous Orthodox Church of Mount Sinai.


The monastery dates from the time of Justinian. Stephen of Aila, the architect of the monastery, built a basilica with three naves, basalt, with wooden ceiling and carved capitals in Corinthian style derivative. The basilica has five aisles and a tower at the western end. The “burning bush” is located at the eastern end.






The monastery has changed little since its construction. The same wooden door closes the gate to the West and the wooden ceiling beams resting on engraved in honor of Emperor Justinian and his wife Theodora, all the sixth century. The inscriptions had been observed and discussed by the various travelers who had been there until the eighteenth century. However, in 1958, an expedition that studied carefully the writings of the beams, revealing its contents, in which she said, “our most pious emperor,” referring to Justinian, and “his late empress,” referring to Theodora. The monastery must have been completed between the death of the empress and the emperor, ie between 548 and 565.

You can also find the remains of the mosque of the tenth and eleventh century. Archaeological studies carried Christian crosses found within. The monastery also houses the Chapel of St. Tryphon, which is used to ossuary for deceased brothers.


The monastery, together with some external agencies such as the nearby monastery of Raithu, is the Orthodox Church of Mount Sinai. This church is autonomous and headed by an archbishop, who is the abbot of the monastery itself. The archbishop is traditionally consecrated by the Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem.