Nineteen studies of celebrated Byzantine icons at the longest continuously inhabited Christian monastery in the world.
The first comprehensive study of the monastery of St Catherine at Mt Sinai in its full historical, art historical, and religious dimensions, the nineteen collected essays in Approaching the Holy Mountain provide a unique view of the longest continuously inhabited Christian monastery. As an important pilgrimage site, Sinai enjoyed an international reputation in the Middle Ages. The monastery also benefited from regional connections to Egypt and the Holy Land. The essays in this volume examine the pilgrims, monks, artists, builders, and scholars who came to the mountain and left their marks on the monastery and its holdings, as well as the image of the monastery that was promoted outside of Sinai.
Because of its dry, isolated location in the Sinai desert, the monastery possesses the world’s greatest collection of Byzantine icons. These icons have been celebrated in highly popular exhibitions in Athens, London, St Petersburg, New York, and Los Angeles, few longer studies of the icons have been attempted. In this volume authors investigate icons from the sixth to the sixteenth centuries and offer new interpretations of their meaning, provenance, and function. Essays also explore celebrated illuminated Byzantine manuscripts in the library of St Catherine’s, pilgrim’s accounts of the monastery, a recently excavated early church on the summit of Mt Sinai, liturgy at Sinai during the first Christian millennium, the influence of Sinai on later paintings and engravings, and the recent history of Sinai studies. The result is a significant advance in our understanding of one of the most important centres of early Christianity.
List of Illustrations
List of Abbreviations
Sinai Studies: An Overview and an Introduction
ROBERT S. NELSON
Paving the Road to Sinai: Georgios and Maria Soteriou on the Holy Mountain
The Transfigured Mountain: Icons and Transformations of Pilgrimage at the Monastery of St Catherine at Mount Sinai
JAOE ELSNER AND GERHARD WOLF
Excavations on the Holy Summit (Jebel Mûsâ) at Mount Sinai: Preliminary Remarks on the Justinianic Basilica
SOPHIA KALOPISSI-VERTI AND MARIA PANAYOTIDI
The Architecture of the Justinianic Basilica on the Holy Summit
PETROS KOUFOPOULOS AND MARINA MYRIANTHEOS-KOUFOPOULOU
Painted Skins: The Illusions and Realities of Architectural Polychromy, Sinai and Egypt
ELIZABETH S. BOLMAN
Worship on Sinai in the First Christian Millennium: Glimpses of a Lost World
ROBERT F. TAFT, S.J.
Late Byzantine Cathedral Liturgy and the Service of the Furnace
Manuscript Production on Mount Sinai from the Tenth to the Thirteenth Century
NANCY P. ŠEVÈENKO
Sinai Greek Two: Exploring the Significance of a Sinai Manuscript
HIEROMONK JUSTIN SINAITES
Visualizing the Divine: An Early Byzantine Icon of the ‘Ancient of Days’ at Mount Sinai
Regarding Prayer: Contemplating an Icon of John the Forerunner
Archive and Atelier: Sinai and the Case of the Narrative Icon
Mural and Icon Painting at Sinai in the Thirteenth Century
GEORGI R. PARPULOV
Sinai, Acre, Tripoli, and the ‘Backwash from the Levant’: Where Did the Icon Painters Work?
REBECCA W. CORRIE
Sinai and Cyprus: Holy Mountain, Holy Isle
ANNEMARIE WEYL CARR
Three East Slavic Pilgrims at Sinai
TRANSLATED BY GEORGI R. PARPULOV
Turning Holy Mountains into Ladders to Heaven: Overlapping Topographies and Poetics of Space in Post-Byzantine Sacred Engravings of Sinai and Mount Athos
VERONICA DELLA DORA
On the Painted Ancestry of Domenikos Theotokopoulos’s Sacred Landscapes of Mount Sinai and the Monastery of St Catherine