Talk:Saint Catherine's Monastery

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Request[edit]

Could someone translate the information from the German article on the subject and import into this one? Thanks -- Etz Haim 22:17, 14 Sep 2004 (UTC)

"...the burning bush, which is alive and on the grounds..." Preposterous! But this is an example of Wikipedia "NPOV" isn't it? --Wetman 02:52, 15 Feb 2005 (UTC)

It is what is claimed by the monks there. I adjusted it to read "...which is purportedly alive and on the grounds." --Preost 12:12, Feb 15, 2005 (UTC)


§2 tails off in the middle of a sentence. or at the start at least. anyone know what's meant to go after "Ships", or can it be removed? (i also fixed a couple of typos i spotted) -- 62.252.64.15 6 July 2005 00:21 (UTC)

Still a stub?[edit]

At this point, the article seems long enough that it need not be labeled as a stub. But typically, how long is an article that is not a stub? --138.129.200.145 00:14, 7 Apr 2005 (UTC) (That was my comment; forgot to log in. --Benfergy 00:17, Apr 7, 2005 (UTC)

Not the original bush?[edit]

Wikipedia article at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burning_bush refers to "St Katherine's Monastery" having a claimed living * descendant * of Moses' original bush. It appears that some cleaning up should be done.

If a lot of these bushes grow around there then it doesn't seem that Moses' discovery was so special, although I suppose that God talking through it makes it an event. If you set the bush on fire, does it become a telephone?

You wouldn't want to keep it at home, would you?

rja.carnegie@excite.com 62.188.154.175 13:44, 9 April 2006 (UTC)


I have been to the monastery and its surrounding area, and there are no other bushes like it at all. As it is the middle of the desert there is little more than sand and stone.

Egeria[edit]

The oddly circumstantial account of the finding of the manuscript of Egeria, not directly relevant here, suggests to me that the actual connection here has been that Egeria visited and described St. Catherine's: it is missing. Vandalism? The two dates noted, 1884 and c. 500 are neither of them relevant to Egeria's visit. Part of the interest of St. Catherine's for the average reader lies in the discoveries made in the library, of which the article seems unaware. Anyone interested in raising the level of this article? --Wetman 03:03, 10 March 2007 (UTC)

No response. Removed it from "History", as Egeria predates the founding --Wetman 18:27, 3 June 2007 (UTC)

autonomous or autocephalous ?[edit]

The following has been in the article for some time:"The monastery along with several dependencies in the area constitute the entire Orthodox Church of Mount Sinai, an autonomous (as distinct from autocephalous) Orthodox Christian church headed by an archbishop, who is also the abbot of the monastery"

Kurt Weitzman (in Galey, John; Sinai and the Monastery of St. Catherine, p.14, Doubleday, New York, 1980, ISBN 0385171102) describes the church as autocephalous. I have added a cite tag. Johnbod 22:08, 5 June 2007 (UTC)

Tell me John why you and wetman are now the self appointed editors of wiki orthodox articles I am not nor do I claim to be, also you did a 3rr violation on the Orthodox icon article. Why did you remove I noting the monastery is Orthodox without correcting the article to reflect the fact? [1] How many people in America even know what Orhodoxy is let alone about this monastery. So policy should now proclude the article being informative?

LoveMonkey 16:23, 16 June 2007 (UTC)

Like many of your edits it did the right thing in the wrong way. Noting the monastery is Othodox is of course fine, jamming the fact into its name is not; we don't have Florence Roman Catholic Cathedral, [[Canterbury Anglican Cathedral, do we? The formal full name, plus the fact it was Othodox was noted lower down. The current text is now clear. No one needs any appointment to edit any article here. Johnbod 17:30, 16 June 2007 (UTC)

Yes but they do need to have at least some knowledge of the subject enough so to not mislead people to the point that they become misinformed? You deleted rather then corrected when the situation required the opposite. And then accuse me of it? What of your contributions have I deleted? LoveMonkey 17:33, 16 June 2007 (UTC)

Pleeenty actually, but I don't dwell. Re the autonomous or autocephalous question here, do I understand correctly that your refs confirm the mount Sinai Church IS autocephalous? The first ref doesn't seem to work & the second is a whole book, & really needs a page number. If this is what they say, the text needs changing. Btw, you changed UK catalogue to US catalog. I think the articler is using British English so far, so am likely to chanfge it back. Johnbod 18:07, 16 June 2007 (UTC)
My understanding is that Mt Sinai is autonomous rather than autocephalous. By definition, an "autonomous" church elects its own head, but he must be consecrated by the primate of the mother church. An autocephalous church not only elects its own head, but does not have to go anywhere else to have him consecrated. The Church of Sinai elects its own Archbishop, who must then be consecrated by the Patriarch of Jerusalem. MishaPan 00:24, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

From Father Ware "The Church of Sinai is in some ways a "freak" in the Orthodox world, consisting as it does in a single monastery, Saint Catherine’s, at the foot of the Mountain of Moses. There is some disagreement about whether the monastery should be termed an "autocephalous" or merely an "autonomous" Church (see p. 314). The abbot, who is always an archbishop, is elected by the monks and consecrated by the Patriarch of Jerusalem; the monastery is entirely independent of outside control. Sad to say, there are today fewer than twenty monks." The RCC site says autonomous so by consensus I guess autonomous has it. LoveMonkey 00:28, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

See also Eastern Orthodox Church organization and St. Catherine's Monastery (Sinai) (Orthodoxwiki) MishaPan 00:42, 17 June 2007 (UTC)
Clearly this is a matter of some ambiguity - dispute would seem to be the wrong word. Weitzman, who spent five months in the monastery, wrote (see above) they were autocephalous, and also that the Abbot/Archbishop had "more often than not" been consecrated by the Patriarch of Jserusalem "in recent centuries". Presumably this is the line in the monastery itself; clearly a church that has managed to stay in commmunion with Rome and the Orthodox churches believes in not bringing things to a head un-neccessarily - a very commendable and Christian attitude imho. Johnbod 01:37, 17 June 2007 (UTC)
Weitzman is an unquestioned authority in his field of expertise, but I doubt he would consider himself an expert on Orthodox polity. I think you need to find out what the monks themselves say, not what one of their guests says. And you are quite mistaken to think that the Church of Mt. Sinai is "in communion with Rome." They are not. I visited Mount Sinai a little before the turn of the millennium. As an Orthodox clergyman myself I was able to speak with the brethren there. They have a wonderful Christian spirit of love and acceptance, but they are also firm in their Orthodoxy. MishaPan 05:38, 17 June 2007 (UTC)
That they are (apparently only because the Abbot did not attend the relevant Council) is well documented - it was crucial for them during the Crusader period. Obviously that does not detract from their Othodoxy. Sadly your reminiscences - did you actually ask them this specific point? - do not meet WP:V. Johnbod 15:51, 17 June 2007 (UTC)
What documentation can you offer to show that they are in communion with the Roman Catholic Church? Whatever happended during the Crusader period has no bearing on their status now, which is what this discussion is really about. MishaPan 13:59, 18 June 2007 (UTC)

autonomous[edit]

Well Johnbod who knows plenty! Weitzman is not the church nor is he an authority that trumps everybody else. MishaPan, Johnbod is trying this same hijacking of peoples culture and history here (with obviously no respect for it, other then to distort it and misrepresent it) that he is also doing on the article Icon. As for my sources I think that Weitzman's opinion is completely meaningless compared to church authority, as is mine. Again it is about sources not opinion and Weitzman is a art historian not an Orthodox church authority. Also MishaPan one of my sources states that as the Roman Catholic the monastery is autonomous. But Johnbod who knows more about Orthodoxy then the Orthodox would see that if he read the source rather then just asked. NOTE: to make the statement that the monastery is in communion with Roman is one of the examples I am speaking of when I state that you are misinforming people. I understand I am not perfect and I make mistake but the ignorance and or arrogance that you stating in the statement "Presumably this is the line in the monastery itself; clearly a church that has managed to stay in commmunion with Rome and the Orthodox churches believes in not bringing things to a head un-neccessarily - a very commendable and Christian attitude imho." Shows you should not be on this article. Next you'll be stating that history is POV. LoveMonkey 00:41, 18 June 2007 (UTC)

I cannot accept the claim this monastery is in communion with the Roman Catholic Church. This is not a normative statement but simply a matter of fact, and I do not accept the validity of the reference.

Love Monkey, you were the one who produced two references which you said showed the church was autocephalous! It is fairly clear there is ambiguity, as the reference you quote above says. Looking on the net another Ukrainian Othodoc church site says they are, and of two editions of the Catholic Encyclopedia, one says they are and the other not. The current text states the ambiguity and references both positions. I note the only two books, as opposed to web-sites, which are Ware and Weizman, both say it is autocephalous. As Misha pan says, it would be useful to know what the monastery itself says. If there is a statement on their website (link at end of article) please copy it here - my Greek will stretch to that; I assume you both read it. I will have to investigate the situation with Rome. Love Monkey, it is not productive to try to turn everything into a bar-brawl. Johnbod 18:18, 18 June 2007 (UTC)
This is what I said "The RCC site says autonomous so by consensus I guess autonomous has it. LoveMonkey 00:28, 17 June 2007 (UTC)"LoveMonkey 01:14, 19 June 2007 (UTC)
I think we need to stop bickering amongst ourselves, and put our energies into doing some research. Let each side continue to gather what reliable information they can. For my part, I would like to submit this page, The Orthodox Church: An Introduction. This is from www.orthodoxinfo.com, and lists Sinai as autonomous. MishaPan 23:28, 18 June 2007 (UTC)
I'm all for that. There is no question that the position of the main sources of information, & so probably the Patriarchates, appears to be that the Church is autonymous, but there are a number of references to ambiguities, and a number of sources, especially those obtaining their information from the monastery/Church itself, regard it as autocephalous. This presumably also has a bearing on the Rome issue also. It may take me a while to find my references, as I have other stuff at the moment. Johnbod 23:40, 18 June 2007 (UTC)
Translation anyone? (from the monastery website):" Μονή Σινά ακολουθεί τους Ιερούς Κανόνες των Οικουμενικών Συνόδων και πνευματικά είναι ενταγμένη στην Ορθόδοξη Εκκλησία και σύμφωνα με τις αποφάσεις, κατά διαφόρους καιρούς, Τοπικών Συνόδων και Ορθοδόξων Πατριαρχών που την αφορούν, κατέχει το μοναδικό προνόμιο στη Χριστιανοσύνη να είναι διοικητικά "αδούλωτος, ασύδοτος, ακαταπάτητος, πάντη και παντός ελευθέρα, αυτοκέφαλος" καθώς δεν εξουσιάζεται από κανέναν Πατριάρχη, ούτε από Σύνοδο. Η εν γένει λειτουργία της Σιναϊτικής Αδελφότητας είναι διατυπωμένη σε "Θεμελιώδεις Κανονισμούς". και διοικείται με θεσμούς άμεσης δημοκρατίας υπό του Ηγουμένου της και Αρχιεπισκόπου Σινά Φαράν και Ραϊθώ και της Ιεράς των Πατέρων Συνάξεως."

- I see an αυτοκέφαλος in there but won't attempt it myself. Johnbod 23:48, 18 June 2007 (UTC)

I have asked a Greek editor -Kostisl (whom has helped with the V Lossky article) to properly translation the passage above. [2]LoveMonkey 01:24, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

Translation[edit]

H Μονή Σινά ακολουθεί τους Ιερούς Κανόνες των Οικουμενικών Συνόδων και πνευματικά είναι ενταγμένη στην Ορθόδοξη Εκκλησία και σύμφωνα με τις αποφάσεις, κατά διαφόρους καιρούς, Τοπικών Συνόδων και Ορθοδόξων Πατριαρχών που την αφορούν, κατέχει το μοναδικό προνόμιο στη Χριστιανοσύνη να είναι διοικητικά "αδούλωτος, ασύδοτος, ακαταπάτητος, πάντη και παντός ελευθέρα, αυτοκέφαλος" καθώς δεν εξουσιάζεται από κανέναν Πατριάρχη, ούτε από Σύνοδο. Η εν γένει λειτουργία της Σιναϊτικής Αδελφότητας είναι διατυπωμένη σε "Θεμελιώδεις Κανονισμούς". και διοικείται με θεσμούς άμεσης δημοκρατίας υπό του Ηγουμένου της και Αρχιεπισκόπου Σινά Φαράν και Ραϊθώ και της Ιεράς των Πατέρων Συνάξεως.

=

Mount Sinai Monastery follows the Holy Rules of the Ecumenical Synods and is spiritually part of the Orthodox Church. According to Decisions of Regional Synods and of Orthodox Patriarchs of several times that concern it, it has the only privilege in Christianity to be administratively "free, loose, untresspassable, free from anyone at any time, autocephalous", as it does not refer directly to any Patriarch or Synod. The function of the Sinai Brotherhood is set forth in "Fundamental Regulations". It is administrated by institutions of direct democracy by its Abbot and Archbishop of Sinai, Pharan, Raitho and the Holy Synod of Fathers.

--Kostisl 12:15, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

LoveMonkey 22:25, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

Thanks, and to Kostisl! I think the different views should be mentioned, as now, but the Sinai church's own position given & referenced to the above. Johnbod 23:05, 19 June 2007 (UTC)
I have added the mention of the churches own view, with shortened Greek & English quotes, here. I think it should be noted in the Orthodox Church organisation article, but won't do this myself. Kostisl's translation is most helpful & prompt, but I wonder if "only" is the best equivalent for "μοναδικό" here? - "unique" or "special" perhaps. The meaning is clear anyhow. Johnbod 00:43, 20 June 2007 (UTC)
If the quote above is from the Monastery's own Website that would seem to pretty much settle the question: they are autocephalous. The only reason they would have to go elsewhere for their Archbishop to be consecrated is because their entire church has only one bishop. Thanks for getting this information. MishaPan 06:24, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

Yes Misha the thing is as they modernize they are supposed to be online and or contactable. This is still "in the works" and has not happened yet. They do have an English speaking spokes person. I unfortunately have no way to find out who that is. I have asked another editor to step in on this page since the page is not really up to par and is now being bogged down by hairsplitting. If the editor does he has access to more direct information about St Catherines and also about Athos. Note Misha the editor is not Orthodox. LoveMonkey 06:37, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

Just to be more succinct.The ring depicted as the ring given to visitors to the Monastery is written in the Greek alphabet and spelled in the original Greek: AIKATEPINA. And it is not just the later-formed Russian Orthodox churches that celebrate Agia Ekaterina on Nov. 25th. The much earlier Greek Orthodox church celebrates it on that day also as do all the later-formed Orthodox churches as well as the Catholic church. 124.186.188.73 (talk) 00:51, 24 November 2013 (UTC)

Misinformation in this article[edit]

Saint Catherines is not in communion with Rome and the Roman Catholic church. Just because an art professor said so, does not make it so. I challenge Johnbod to once stop editing and attempting to hijack peoples cultures and their religion for whatever he has. I am asking that the comment that is incorrect be removed from the article. LoveMonkey 08:02, 23 June 2007 (UTC) No mention of communion.

We've been through all this with the autonymous/autocephalous question (above) where you heaped abuse on me and Weizmann before finding out he was, er, completely right. Let's wait and gather sources, as Misha Pan suggests. Johnbod 10:41, 23 June 2007 (UTC)

Weitzman is definitely not to be trusted here above church authorities with regard to ecclesiastical status. Sinai is not in communion with Rome -- someone would have to be pretty ignorant of the situation to think it is. Jschroe
Excuse me if I'm unimpressed by this constant denigration of Weitzman, who was a world-class and very careful scholar who spent five months at the monastery, and pioneered the study of the Crusader period art produced and still preserved there. He is in fact wholly unlikely to be wrong on this point, and those who fail to grasp this point just show themselves up in my view. I would of course be interested in specific Orthodox references - from scholarly books not websites please - that actually deal with the specific issue. We have seen above that the primary Othodox websites do not recognise - or even mention - the autocephaly which the monastery's own website, plus the only 2 book references seen, assert, so absence of reference to this question on those sites is not evidence of anything. It would be useful if a reader of Greek could see if there is reference to the matter on the monastery website. I accept the communion is nowadays rather technical - there was an opaque reference to the position of the monastery in Pope JPII's sermon there in 2000: "For centuries monks from all Christian traditions lived and prayed together in this Monastery, listening to the Word, in whom dwells the fullness of the Father’s wisdom and love ..... Through the centuries, this Monastery has been an exceptional meeting place for people belonging to different Churches, traditions and cultures...."Vatican website but it is not something the Vatican presumably wishes to stress, presumably given the violent reactions it seems to give rise among some. More proper academic references are needed, but at the moment Weitzman is the only one produced.Johnbod 17:03, 23 June 2007 (UTC)

Another bit for translation (monastery website):"Οι Σιναΐτες Άγιοι συγκαταλέγονται μεταξύ των σπουδαιοτέρων της Χριστιανοσύνης. Ο Άγιος Ιωάννης συγγράφοντας την Κλίμακα, ένα κείμενο το οποίο είναι σεβαστό σε όλο το Χριστιανικό κόσμο, έχει καταγράψει με σαφήνεια όλα τα βήματα της πνευματικής ανόδου του αγωνιζόμενου ανθρώπου. Ο Άγιος Συμεών ο Πεντάγλωσσος μετέφερε στη Δύση την τιμή προς την Αγία Αικατερίνη, και αναδείχθηκε εκεί Άγιος προ του Χριστιανικού σχίσματος Ανατολής και Δύσεως το 1054. Ο Άγιος Γρηγόριος ο Σιναΐτης δίδαξε την άσκηση της προσευχής στον σλαβικό κόσμο, ενώ οι άγιοι Νείλος και Αναστάσιοι επίσης με τα κείμενά τους έχουν δώσει μεγάλες μαρτυρίες για τη χριστιανική ασκητική στο σύνολό της. Από το γεγονός της διηνεκούς επί δέκα επτά αιώνες παρουσίας στην περιοχή του Νοτίου Σινά αυτής της πνευματικής και πολιτιστικής παραδόσεως και της διαφυλάξεως των προσκυνημάτων που αντιπροσωπεύουν η Ιερά Μονή Σινά, και η τιμή στην Αγία Αικατερίνα, προστρέχουν, ανά τους αιώνας αλλά και σήμερα, στην ευλογία της απλοί άνθρωποι ή μεγάλοι Ηγέτες προσφέροντας δώρα, ή αναχωρητές προσφέροντας τον ίδιο τους τον εαυτό ...." - may not all be relevant, or any of it, but I see 1054 is referenced. Johnbod 18:09, 23 June 2007 (UTC)

Actually I don't think that is very relevant, but this bit appears to be:Από τους ελληνορωμαϊκούς χρόνους έως σήμερα διατηρείται εδώ αναλλοίωτος ο οικουμενικός ελληνορθόδοξος χαρακτήρας της Μονής, καθώς δεν έχει γνωρίσει ποτέ σοβαρή καταστροφή ή βίαιη αλλαγή στην ταυτότητα του έμψυχου δυναμικού της, γεγονός το οποίο αποδεικνύει το λάθος πού έχουν οι έστω και σπάνιες αναφορές σύμφωνα με τις οποίες Μονή έχει αποκλειστική σχέση με τη Ρουμανική, τη Ρωμαιοκαθολική, τη Ρωσική ή και με την Κοπτική παράδοση. Αν και η επίσημη ονομασία της είναι «Ιερά Μονή του Θεοβαδίστου Όρους Σινά», ανά τους αιώνες αναφέρεται και ως «Μονή του Αγίου Όρους Σινά», «Μονή της Παναγίας της Βάτου», «Μονή του Σωτήρος Χριστού», μεταγενέστερα δε και κατά κανόνα σήμερα: «Μονή της Αγίας Αικατερίνης».

Johnbod 03:34, 24 June 2007 (UTC)

Johnbod, with all due respect, why not just contact your local Orthodox church authorities? Who cares what Weitzman says, when they have met monks from Sinai and have friends who have visited there? I'm not against Weitzman - indeed, I appreciate many of his contributions - but he is not an authority regarding their canonical situation. Jschroe
Perhaps you have not read the previous automymous/autocephalous sections above. W said autocephalous, all major Orthodox web-sites plus Misha pan said the opposite. It then turns out the monastery itself says autocephalous. Weitzman did spend 5 months at the monastery, and actually spoke Greek. Out of interest, what does Orthodoxwiki say about the automymous/autocephalous question? Is it accurate on that, would you say? There appears to be a section of the monastery web-site that covers the question; if it does, that will settle it, as it settled the last issue, as soon as someone could can translate it is found, which seems surprisingly difficult. Johnbod 14:44, 25 June 2007 (UTC)

Ignorant with no respect for the culture they are writing about[edit]

Excuse me if I call on admins for your reverting and blatantly disregarding the comments of an Orthodox Priest and founder of Orthodoxwiki. Father John behaved respectfully (which I can not say of every Orthodox) you have no justification for your behaviour. I think it would be completety within reason to ask the WP:OFFICE to ban Johnbod from editing Orthodox articles. He has a negative opinion and POV of the Orthodox church, culture and community and is using a logical fallacy such as an argument from silence to try and justify his own WP:OR. He continues to revert out people who are either Orthodox christians or are actual authorities from within the Orthodox church claiming his opinion higher then the actual people themselves and their culture that he is not part of but is writing about. You owe Father John an apology JohnBod for disregarding what he posted here and then reverting out his edits from the actual article. And before you starting trying to change the subject or projecting or dodging the point by asking anything us, I would ask you to reflect upon what you are doing. It is your actions that are the point of contention here, stop dodging. At best Johnbod has that some people who LIVE at the monastery are in communion with Rome. Which would not mean the monastery nor the community as a whole. Any in communion with Rome would not be also in communion with the Eastern Orthodox. LoveMonkey 00:51, 24 June 2007 (UTC)

As for Johnbod's complete disregard for what Father John told him. If a priest from the Orthodox church stated that Weizman and Johnbod are wrong that's all I need, end of discussion.

LoveMonkey 03:35, 27 June 2007 (UTC)

Peace, brothers![edit]

Dear friends, it is a great pleasure to see people care to provide accurate and respectful information about this special Monastery. I may be completely in error in my understanding of you all, please forgive me if I am. Thanks to other Wiki projects, I have excellent reasons to have the highest personal opinion of both User:LoveMonkey and User:Johnbod. I have a special admiration for LoveMonkey, because he strives to defend accuracy with regard to Orthodox articles, according to Wiki policy. His English is excellent, but not native, which can cause frustration. We need his knowledge of Orthodoxy, and his considerable multi-lingual skills. Similarly, Johnbod is a prolific contributer, for whom interaction with scholarship is clearly a long-standing personal quality.

I'm trying to understand the sense of the Greek in the quotes John has provided. There are subtleties that I can miss, especially given the subject and the author. It would appear that Ecumenism has a long tradition at St Catherines, however, this is a matter of hospitality and Christian charity, rather than a formal or doctrinal matter. The words ecumenical and Greek Orthodox stand side-by-side in the quote above. I suspect the intention of those words is to suggest a commitment to hospitality, without any compromise of Orthodoxy. Orthodoxy is well known for its sophisticated thinking and diplomacy. I'll work some more on understanding the quote, but I am not native.

At this point, may I clarify that the fact in dispute is whether there is an official communion between St Catherine's and the Vatican? There would certainly appear to be a de facto relationship, in that St Catherine's welcomes non-Orthodox guests; however, it would also appear that the officals of the monastery are always Orthodox. This would justify both a visting scholar regarding St Catherines as being generally "in communion with" Rome, while also justifying the claim that the monastery is unequivocally and uncompromisingly Greek Orthodox -- it is not "partly" Coptic, Catholic or any thing else, but quite specifically governed by Greek Orthodox brothers.

My apologies if I am only adding my personal ignorance to what has become a touchy discussion. I will keep working on understanding the Greek, it is not the dialect I'm used to, and has terms, inflections and syntax I'm unfamiliar with. I can say it starts, "From Greco-Roman times until today, ..." Peace friends, we all treasure truth. Alastair Haines 02:39, 25 June 2007 (UTC)

Weitzman specifically describes the monastery as being in communion with Rome (in the 1960-70s), though effectively by default (the Archbishop having missed the Council) which is what is disputed. The reference can be found in the article history, though it has been reverted. The only other references I have are to the Crusader period. But if you find the Greek difficult don't worry. I'm sure there are others who can read it readily, though apparently none of the Othodox experts recently appearing on this page. Thanks Johnbod 03:08, 25 June 2007 (UTC)
Wow! Rome invited the Archbishop of St Catherine's to their Council? Well, that's a great honour indeed, and it suggests a friendly relationship. Other parameters of the relationship need clarification I suspect, but it does sound like something important to note, without overstating the implications. I'm not implying I think that's been done in the past, just indicating I'm fascinated by this. I'm sure St Catherines' relationship with Rome would not be conducted in a manner that would reflect any disloyalty to their Greek Orthodox traditions. I do hope some kind of appropriate text about this does end up in the article. Help us please LoveMonkey, have I got it all wrong? Alastair Haines 03:35, 25 June 2007 (UTC)

No Alastair you are correct, we as Orthodox are not in communion with Rome nor is St Catherines. There is no ambigiouity at best are the Basil monks but by being in communion with Rome they are not in communion with us. As Father John has already attested. The Uniate are not in communion with us. LoveMonkey 04:34, 25 June 2007 (UTC)

Johnbod, you said above, "The reference can be found in the article history, though it has been reverted." I was wondering if you would be kind enough to post the reference here on the Talk page. I'd like to take a look at it. I'm curious about which "Council" you are referring to. Thank you very much. MishaPan 00:06, 27 June 2007 (UTC)
The reference I was referring to there was the Weitzman one I think you are familiar with, as you have already said you disregard it above. I am now really waiting on a translation of the passage from the web-site quoted above (the last one), which appears to concern relations with "τη Ρουμανική, τη Ρωμαιοκαθολική, τη Ρωσική ή και με την Κοπτική παράδοση". I must say I am finding it surprising that this is not yet forthcoming with all these Othodox experts around. Johnbod 00:17, 27 June 2007 (UTC)
Thank you. I'm sorry I'm so dull sometimes. I wish I could help with the Greek translation, but I'm not really qualified. By the way, I wasn't really discounting Weitzman's quote so much as his standing as an authority on Orthodox polity. I have only seen your reference to the quote and not read it directly. That's why I was wondering if you could either post the direct quote here or provide a link to it. Do you know what council Weitzman was referring to? Thanks. MishaPan 20:31, 3 July 2007 (UTC)
Ok, from Weitzmann in the Galley book: p 14 "...the autocephalous Church of Sinai had not taken part in the schism of 1054, which separated the Orthodox and the Roman churches, and it had remained in communion with Rome." There is more about the links with Latins, especially during the Crusader period (on which I have other sources), and also later, but that is the key bit. The bit about the failure to schism being essentially accidental comes from somewhere else - I'm not sure where. Essentially the Abbot/Archbishop did not attend or sign off on a formal declaration of schism with the other Orthodox leaders at some point after 1054. I think LM has asked for another translation, which may resolve matters. Johnbod 01:03, 4 July 2007 (UTC)

If the article is correct in stating that St Catherine's comes under the jurisdiction of the Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem and that its archbishop is traditionally consecrated by the Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, then clearly it is a wholly Orthodox monastery and as such cannot be in communion with Rome. Jack1956 19:54, 14 July 2007 (UTC)

But the article, following the monastery website, does not say that! Johnbod 19:56, 14 July 2007 (UTC)
The article says: "The monastery is Greek Orthodox". If it is Greek Orthodox--whether under Jerusalem or autocephalous--it is, ipso facto not in communion with Rome. Furthermore, none of the translated quotations from the monastery's Website state that the monastery is in communion with Rome. MishaPan 20:25, 14 July 2007 (UTC)
As you should know, as I have said it above, no one is disputing the Orthodoxy of the monastery. No one has yet translated what appears to be the relevant quote from the monastery, as given above. Johnbod 20:27, 14 July 2007 (UTC)

The monasteries status is not ambigious[edit]

I would like a source for this statement. Since the website [3] states that it is Orthodox what about its status is ambigious? LoveMonkey (talk) 15:02, 28 July 2008 (UTC)

It is explained in the remainder of the sentence, which includes several references. Vilĉjo (talk) 10:29, 29 July 2008 (UTC)
Please pretty please with money on top of it-discuss here before removing citation requests. The sources do not say that the Orthodox world considers the status of the monastery ambigous as being Orthodox and or some other Christian strand and this is the problem with the wording. The status of the Monastery is "Eastern Orthodox" period. It is how it is view as an already Orthodox Monastery within Eastern Orthodoxy that is, undefined as such. The wording, "The exact status of the church within Eastern Orthodoxy is ambiguous" could be worded better. It should say explicitly the church is established Eastern Orthodox but its type of administration status is unclear. There is on the talkpage here a long draw out disagreement that the church is even Eastern Orthodox and the word should leave no doubt that the Monastery is Eastern Orthodox. It should be clearer in stating that the administration status is what is "ambigious" not the general or vague "The exact status of the church within Eastern Orthodoxy is ambiguous". People who are completely ignorant of the monastery and or Eastern Orthodoxy (since EO is often mistaken for Orthodox Jewish) will not understand such a subtle theoria. The article needs to not mislead people and the wording does so as it is now.

LoveMonkey (talk) 13:38, 29 July 2008 (UTC)

If your problem is with the wording rather than the fact of the Monastery's ambiguous status within Orthodoxy, then please word it better yourself rather than just slapping a citation request on it, because you are asking for a citation in support of something which is not being stated. The sentence goes on to say: "by some, including the church itself, it is considered autocephalous, by others an autonomous church …", which makes clear what is meant by the word "ambiguous". I'm not sure how far we can go in trying to cater for readers who are incapable of reading from one side of a punctuation mark to the other within the same sentence; but if you're really concerned about that, please do re-word it accordingly (Bishop Kallistos's phrase "There is some disagreement …" might be useful here). But a citation request is simply beside the point: the sentence clearly indicates in what way the Monastery's status is "ambiguous"; no-one could read it as saying that "the Orthodox world considers the status of the monastery ambiguous as being Orthodox" (your words but my emphasis), and therefore no citation can meaningfully be requested in support of such a misreading. Vilĉjo (talk) 14:19, 29 July 2008 (UTC)

Clearly no one can do anything about editors who dont read.But I will repost here from earlier on this very talkpage and in this very article where what you say no-one could read it as saying that "the Orthodox world considers the status of the monastery ambiguous is exactly what someone did- so here goes--

Clearly this is a matter of some ambiguity - dispute would seem to be the wrong word. Weitzman, who spent five months in the monastery, wrote (see above) they were autocephalous, and also that the Abbot/Archbishop had "more often than not" been consecrated by the Patriarch of Jserusalem "in recent centuries". Presumably this is the line in the monastery itself; clearly a church that has managed to stay in commmunion with Rome and the Orthodox churches believes in not bringing things to a head un-neccessarily - a very commendable and Christian attitude imho. Johnbod 01:37, 17 June 2007 (UTC)


All this has been in discussion and is still under discussion. I have tried to edit the article already which sparked an edit war as is on this talkpage and in the article history. Again I can not make people read.Thank you for contributing to the article. No thank you for making comments and edits that seem to be uninformed about the article history. Its so productive to have to explain all this misinformation all over again. Its so community like here to speak in such irony. But for the sake of example, I will try again. LoveMonkey (talk) 21:19, 2 August 2008 (UTC)

"Clearly no one can do anything about editors who dont read." Indeed, and it would have been good if you had read what I actually said rather than what you seem to have assumed I was saying. I was explicitly talking about the sentence upon which you had put the citation request, and said:
no-one could read it [i.e. the sentence] as saying that "the Orthodox world considers the status of the monastery ambiguous as being Orthodox"
I did not say:
no-one could argue that "the Orthodox world considers the status of the monastery ambiguous as being Orthodox"
because, yes, I had actually read the talk page first, and knew that some were arguing precisely that. But the sentence in question did not in any way support such an argument, so the citation request was pointless.
However, that is water under the bridge, as I am happy with your most recent edit. Vilĉjo (talk) 22:31, 2 August 2008 (UTC)

And even with all this Johnbod just couldn't leave it alone- just like I have been saying [4]. It would be nice if after being told by Orthodox laymen and at least one Orthodox admin/priest alike that what he was stating (per an art scholar not an history or Orthodoxy scholar) was wrong, he'd have stopped with the frustrating and unproductive hairsplitting. But this is wikipedia so go figure. Man it would be nice in an Encyclopedia article about a 1500 year old historical site if wikipedia could get facts like the specific differences of communion and administration clarified. Just a thought. But hey people would rather project and post completely inaccurate information supposedly based on an expert not even in the appropriate field. LoveMonkey (talk) 01:07, 3 August 2008 (UTC)

The only problem here is your difficulty in understanding, let alone writing, English. Johnbod (talk) 01:13, 3 August 2008 (UTC)

Projecting will do nothing to justify the frustration you have caused. Let alone the potential damage to the credibility to wikipedia by edit warring to post pseudo- history in this article. LoveMonkey (talk) 01:16, 3 August 2008 (UTC)

I've just been reading through all the posts here about the monastery's supposed communion with the Roman Catholic Church. I see that the debate took place 4 years ago and there was never any resolution. I don't want to re-ignite old arguments, but I feel it is important to draw this issue to a close.
Johnbod has provided no evidence for his claim that St. Catherines is in communion with Rome, other than the reference from that art historian. Interestingly, Johnbod gave a Greek quote from the monastery's website (way above this post) that at the time was untranslated. I started translating it for all of you, and then realized that since the time it was posted, the monastery's website has translated everything into English! How convenient. I welcome all of you to visit two particular English pages on that website:
  • The first is http://www.sinaimonastery.com/en/index.php?lid=1, the home page, where you will notice it begins with the sentence "The Greek Orthodox monastery of the God-trodden Mount Sinai...". That should end all arguments about communion with Rome, since by definition a Greek Orthodox institution cannot be in communion with Rome at this time. However, the text on this page goes on to say, "Members of other Christian confessions have honoured the monastery, coming as pilgrims to this holy place. But from its beginnings, the Christian inhabitants of Sinai belonged to the Greek speaking world, and it has remained so to this day." Clearly the monastery is distinguishing between its importance to Christianity at large and the Greek world in particular.
  • Next, let's look at the page http://www.sinaimonastery.com/en/index.php?lid=8. Here, the text says that "spiritually [the monastery] ranks among the complex of Orthodox Churches". It goes on to give details about its administrative relationship with the Orthodox patriarchs. NOTHING AT ALL IS SAID ABOUT ROME. From this we can conclude, again, that it is part of the body of the Orthodox Church.
I think Johnbod's confusion may arise from the care the monastery takes to stress its importance to the Christian world beyond Orthodoxy. The website says in numerous places that the monastery has a "Helleno-Roman cultural heritage" and that it is visited by pilgrims from around the world. But there can be no doubt about whether the monks consider themselves Orthodox or Roman Catholic! They want to act as a bridge among Christian groups, yes, but they clearly view themselves as Orthodox. I happen to know some of them have served on Mt. Athos, for example. And their administrative links are all with the Orthodox Church. An interesting tidbit is that they list the Egyptian and Greek states as their benefactors. The Greek connection only came about because of the Orthodox character of the monastery and its link to the Church of Greece. Greece would not fund and support a Roman Catholic institution on foreign soil!
So, let us all resolve to never come back to this issue - unless, of course, someone can find a reference to an act of communion between Rome and Mt. Sinai. Since I know there is no such thing, I respectfully think we're done here. :) Nojamus (talk) 17:24, 31 August 2012 (UTC)
This is a 4-year old discussion. Essentially there is every reason to believe that the monastery regarded itself as in communion with the Western church in the Middle Ages, and may have held some Western monks on a semi-permanent basis. This all stopped when, much later, the Russians became the main sponsors of the monastery, and there was destruction of all the Latin manuscripts, bits of which often turn up resused in the bindings there (and one book survives because it was mis-shelved in the Syriac section of the library). No doubt there was a deal of re-writing history. To say "the sentence "The Greek Orthodox monastery of the God-trodden Mount Sinai...". That should end all arguments about communion with Rome, since by definition a Greek Orthodox institution cannot be in communion with Rome at this time" ignores that the monastery has regarded itself as autocephalous in the past, though it is today notably coy about this claim on its website, and was not involved (as usual, being so isolated) in the main schism with Rome. When then did it cease to be in communion with Rome? No dates are offered. No "act of communion" is required - but where is the "act" breaking the ancient communion? That (plus the actual current status of the monastery within Orthodoxy) is where the ambiguity lies. To regard not being in communion with Rome as part of the "definition" of being Orthodox is a strange way of looking at things theologically, though obviously a practical working definition. I don't say (and the article never said as far as I can remember) that the monastery regards itself as being in communion with Rome now, but it has done in the past, and (who knows) may one day choose to revive that status. You don't survive 1500 years without a degree of political cunning. But I have no desire to continue this discussion. Johnbod (talk) 17:48, 31 August 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for your comment. First, let me point out that Wikipedia evolves continuously. A four-year old conversation is still relevant if another editor stumbles upon it. Back to the main issue, I think you need to check what an autocephalous church is in the Orthodox community. It does not mean what you seem to think it means. Most of the national Orthodox churches are autocephalous, but they are most certainly not in communion with Rome. I think you are going around in circles with your reasoning. I have posted links to what the OFFICIAL monastery administration says. If you want to dispute it with your own historical interpretation, you are welcome of course to provide references backing up your claims. Only please make sure they are suitable references.Nojamus (talk) 00:15, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
I am well aware what autocephalous means thank you, and any readers who do stumble on this conversation will be able to make their own judgement about who is using circular reasoning. Johnbod (talk) 01:30, 10 September 2012 (UTC)

Another misinformation[edit]

I removed 'Coptic' from the second sentence of the 'About the Monastery' section. While being in the Monastery in July 2008, searching for Coptic codices, I was told by the librarian that they possessed only four volumes. St. Palamon (talk) 03:03, 1 March 2010 (UTC)

Please don't burn the Burning Bush![edit]

I seen a show on the Discovery Civilization Channel profiling this monastery and they displayed the supposed burning bush. And right beside it stood a fire extinguisher! I don't recall the name of the show, but you can clearly see it, they actually keep a fire extinguisher beside the burning bush! I thought this was rather funny. However it does make sense... -- œ 10:16, 13 April 2010 (UTC)

Discoveries of 1975[edit]

I think there's something missing in the paragraph below from the article:

"The most important manuscripts have since been filmed or digitized, and so are accessible to scholars. This is certainly not the case for the discoveries of 1975, which previously could be viewed and evaluated exclusively by Kurt Aland and Barbara Aland from the Institute for New Testament Textual Research in Münster, Germany in 1982. A team of imaging scientists and scholars from the USA and Europe is currently using spectral imaging techniques developed for imaging the Archimedes Palimpsest to study more than one hundred palimpsests in the monastery library."

What are the discoveries of 1975? Why were they exclusively accessible to the Alands? Are they still exclusively accessible to Mrs. Aland?

The paragraph has a "machine-translated" feel to it.

--Jim in Georgia Contribs Talk 00:53, 17 February 2013 (UTC)

File:Katharinenkloster Sinai BW 2.jpg to appear as POTD soon[edit]

Hello! This is a note to let the editors of this article know that File:Katharinenkloster Sinai BW 2.jpg will be appearing as picture of the day on August 31, 2013. You can view and edit the POTD blurb at Template:POTD/2013-08-31. If this article needs any attention or maintenance, it would be preferable if that could be done before its appearance on the Main Page. Thanks! — Crisco 1492 (talk) 02:03, 17 August 2013 (UTC)

Picture of the day
Saint Catherine's Monastery

Saint Catherine's Monastery, an Eastern Orthodox monastery which lies in Saint Catherine, Egypt, on the Sinai Peninsula. Established between 548 and 565 AD, it is recognised by UNESCO as one of the oldest working Christian monasteries.

Photo: Berthold Werner
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