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St. Catherine’s monastic community is the oldest in the world. The current Monastery walls were built in the sixth century. Situated on the holy ground where Moses encountered God at the Burning Bush, Saint Catherine’s Monastery has, through the years, represented Orthodox Christianity’s tradition of sanctity to broader society (see below for more on this).
However, due to the humanitarian crises of the wider region and the depressed Greek economy, it has lost major sources of income that enabled the Monks to carry out this mission and maintain the Monastery for future generations. There are no local Orthodox communities in the autocephalous Archdiocese of Sinai to support St. Catherine’s.
Given the tenuous economic situation at St. Catherine’s, Friends of Mount Sinai Monastery (FMSM) was founded to support the Monastery’s continued expression of the timeless values of Orthodox spirituality. In addition to information on how to donate and news, the website, http://www.mountsinaimonastery.org/, has many photographs, as well as information about the relevance of the St. Catherine’s to the world (Sinai Todaypage). People can also submit questions on any topics they like (Q&A page), and we will send them to the Monastery and post answers.
FMSM is an IRS approved not-for-profit 501(c)(3) charity. Donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law. The board and staff consist entirely of volunteers who are recognized by St. Catherine’s and include a Monastic associated with the Monastery. All donations go to the Monastery, though on credit card donations, there is a small, standard credit card fee.
His Eminence Archbishop Damianos of Sinai and abbot of the Greek Orthodox monastery relays the following:
The great and difficult journey into the desert is something desired by all who value inner peace. Hence, the monks consider the continued operation of the monastery a duty not just to themselves, but to the visitors who reach this wilderness from all corners of the world, hoping to experience the stillness that exists between the soul and God amidst such beauty sanctified by the divine Presence. While the Sinai monks have no wish to burden others, even very modest contributions go far in Egypt. Together with the prayers of the faithful, these will sustain the Monastery in its spiritual goals, which value the peace of one’s neighbor as much as one’s own.
For those who are interested, this is from the Sinai Today page about the Monastery (http://www.mountsinaimonastery.org/sinai-today/):
Most are drawn by the Monastery’s location on Mount Sinai, or Horeb, which was retained in local memory as the site of the miraculous events of Exodus, where the holy Prophet Moses encountered God at the Burning Bush and then received the Ten Commandments. The Sacred and Imperial Monastery of the God-Trodden Mount of Sinai, as St. Catherine’s is officially named, also houses the world’s greatest collection of Byzantine icons, as well as a famous collection of ancient manuscripts second only to that of the Vatican.
For the student of religion or spiritual seeker, the Sinai Monastery stands at the apex of revelation where the New and Old Testaments meet, for the brilliant radiance of Moses’ countenance upon his descent from Sinai prefigures the way of divine Grace to come in the New Testament.
As seen through the prism of Sinai’s ancient spiritual tradition, the ultimate significance of the events of Exodus emerges in the New Testament era. Given their own experiences of the purified soul’s participation in God, the Fathers of the early Church were able to discern essential aspects of Christian theology in Moses’ experiences of God, first at the Burning Bush and then on the Holy Summit of Sinai. Thus, the tradition of the Law and Prophets of the Old Testament revealed on Sinai finds its fulfillment in the way of love taught by Christ, the journey whose stages are clearly set out in Saint John Climacus of Sinai’s Ladder of Divine Ascent and reflected in the life of the Great-martyr Catherine of Alexandria, whose relics are preserved in the Holy Monastery.
For anyone interested, donations by credit card can be made at http://www.mountsinaimonastery.org/donate/and those by check should be made out to Friends of Mount Sinai Monastery and mailed to: Friends of Mount Sinai Monastery PO Box 231953 Encinitas, CA, 92023-1953 USA .
Thank you very much!