10 Commandments, Moses: Facts About The Site Where The Oldest Library In Egypt Was Built

Mount Sinai is renowned as the principal site of divine revelation in Jewish history, where God is purported to have appeared to Moses and given him the Ten Commandments.


Saint Catherine’s Monastery. Photo: egymonuments.gov.eg


It is one of the oldest historic relics in Africa that has transcended religious divisions and civil strife waged by empires and kingdoms. For Christians, the monastery is the very ground God appeared to Moses in a burning bush under the Mount of the Decalogue. For Muslims, it is a site where Prophet Mohammed instructed them in a letter to protect the revered monastery.

Historians argue that this initiative explains the peaceful co-existence between Muslims and Christians at the site where the monastery is situated, according to the Sinai Monastery Website.

The Sacred Monastery of the God-Trodeen Mount Sinai is one of the religious sanctuaries with the oldest library in Egypt dating back to the 17th century.

The monastery is one of the sanctuaries that is revered by both the Christian ad Muslim worlds. This is because it was erected at the site Moses was given the 10 Commandments by God, according to Good Governance Africa. Another important religious association linked to the monastery is that it houses the holy relics of Saith Catherine.

Its Greek and Roman architecture is still in place; it is one of the religious sanctuaries that was impacted by wars or destroyed by an over-zealous ruler that engaged Egypt in a military expedition. It is now a site many Christians consider holy and make annual pilgrimages to reignite their Christian faith. The inhabitants since time immemorial have maintained their Greek lineage and still hold customs and traditions to that effect.



One striking architecture that gives the monastery its distinct Greek atmosphere is the fortress wall erected around the sanctuary under the orders of the Roman emperor Justinian. Historians say the letter of protection written by Prophet Mohammed in 623 AD can largely be credited for the preservation of the monastery despite jihadist invasion and incursions.

Many religious researchers fall on the monastery library which consists of 3,300 manuscripts, which are written in Greek, Slavonic, Arabic, Polish and Hebrew, among others. Some of the manuscripts are used to regulate and provide guidance to monks in the discharge of their religious duties.

Early historians describe the sanctuary as the monastery of the Holy Virgin because of the religious engagement between God and man at the foot of the mountain. The burning of the bush was considered a similar encounter the Virgin Mary had with the angel. The monastery is linked with the religious encounters of holy prophets Moses and Elias at the mountain and their prophecies at Mount Sinai.

The monastery is acclaimed by many rulers for its significance in religious knowledge and the texts it holds. Some of the books at the sanctuary range from manuscripts and pre-historic literature. It is one of the celebrated religious sanctuaries because of its spiritual and cultural significance in the religious space.


Many famed rulers and religious figures like Empress Helena, Emperor Justinian, and Napoleon Bonaparte have acknowledged the importance of the sanctuary. The monastery was recently listed as one of the UNESCO heritage sites for its place in the culture and religious significance of the people.
One of the benefits visitors or pilgrims enjoy is the prayer of dedication said by the monks of the monastery. They co-exist peacefully with the inhabitants of the area. They are the spiritual custodians of the customs of the monastery.

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