Monday, January 15, 2007

Restoration of St Catherine's mosaic

These are snippets from the Egyptian Gazette - I had forgotten when I found them, yesterday, that the EG doesn't archive its past news items, so I'm afraid that the URLs are no longer valid. If you click on them, another story entirely comes up. However, I've left the content copied below.
"The mosaic at the Church of the Revelation at Saint Catherine’s Monastery is the oldest and most beautiful in the Middle East. Restoration of this precious decoration is being undertaken by an Italian team. Manager of Dahab Antiquities, Abdul Rehim Reihan has said Emperor Justinian built the church in 6th century AD when it was known as the Church of the Resurrection. In the 9th century, when relics of St Catherine were found on the site of the monastery, which bears now the saint’s name, the name was changed to Church of the Revelation. Reihan said the mosaic, which covers the upper part of the east dome, is considered the oldest and most beautiful in the region. The mosaic is made from small pieces of glass of different colours, mostly red and blue on a dark gold background."

More about St Catherine's Monastery can also be found at the site on the following page:
"Located at the foot of Mount Moses, St Catherine's Monastery, was constructed by order of the Emperor Justinian between 527 and 565. It is built around what is thought to be Moses' Burning Bush, which has a chapel built atop it. It is a spectacular natural setting for priceless works of art, including Arab mosaics, Greek and Russian icons, Western oil paintings, paintings on wax, fine sacerdotal ornaments, marbles, enamels, chalices, reliquaries, including one donated by Czar Alexander II in the 19th century, and another by Empress Catherine of Russia in the 17th century. But of perhaps even greater significance is that it is the second largest collection of illuminated manuscripts (The Vatican has the largest). The collection consists of some 3,500 volumes in Greek, Coptic, Arabic, Armenian, Hebrew, Slavic, Syriac, Georgian and other languages."

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