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“The Holy Monastery of the God-trodden Mount Sinai,” the monks have written, “is a purely religious institution dedicated to the protection of the Sinaitic pilgrimage sites ... the maintenance of the history of Sinai … the values of the great religious tradition of the monastery [and] to cultivate the development of the exalted moral life through the exercise of the Christian virtue that derives from the first commandment: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God…”

Motivated by “the active and generous love that Christ ordered his disciples through his second commandment,” the monks also operate schools and social service centers for the local community, holding fast, they write, “to these two Christian commandments as the basis of their exercise and ministry.”

No longer lost in time and sand, the monks of Sinai offer glimpses of the Byzantine past, but their challenges are modern, indeed.

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Michael La Civita is executive editor of ONE magazine.

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Tags: Egypt Orthodox Church Monastery Church history Manuscripts