“The distance between heaven and earth is not greater than a thought.”
…I first read this proverb in Mongolia, but now, in the light of the headlamp on the nightly way to the mountain peak, nothing better described this unique moment. While the legs in diligent obedience, step by step, overcame the difficulty of the way, the spirit soared towards the glittering sky, illuminated by the thousands of stars of the Milky Way. Not far and it was done. The darkness slowly gave way to the light of the sun and a new day dawned. 2285 meters above sea level the air was particularly clear and the cold air streamed through the lungs and made the heart beat a little faster. Was it the height or the moment? Laughing, we stood on the Djebel Musa (Mount Sinai), at the foot of which the time honered St. Catherine’s Monastery was build, isolated and never destroyed since the 6th century AD. Unreal like the moment, was also the fact, that 1400 years before us supposedly enlightened humans, Islamic rulers in the sign of respect and in the principle of peace, guaranteed the uninterrupted existence of the Christian monastery on Muslim soil.
The orthodox St. Catherine’s Monastery is one of the oldest monasteries in Christianity and one of the few places in the world where Jewish, Christian and Islamic cultural history meet each other. According to history, this is the place where Moses received the 10 holy commandments after leaving Egypt.
The outstanding and unique library is probably the world’s oldest surviving collection of early Christian manuscripts and icons. The library contains more than six thousand manuscripts in Greek, Christian Palestinian Aramaic, Syriac, Arabic, Georgian, Armenian and Ancient Ethiopian, including first editions of Homer (1488) and Plato (1513), and the Comedies of Aristophanes (1498). Also discovered here and dated to the 4th century was the Codex Sinaiticus. Alongside the Codex Vaticanus it is considered to be the oldest almost completely preserved Bible manuscript.