• “A great spiritual treasure that should be maintained for future generations.”

    HM The King
  • “A marvellous testament to the wealth and diversity of the cultures which have come together and enriched one another in this meeting point between the people of Africa, and Europe and Asia.” 

    President George H.W. Bush

Protecting one of the greatest libraries in the world

Saint Catherine Foundation

The Saint Catherine Foundation raises funds and awareness for the essential works needed to conserve, preserve, study and share the unique heritage offered by Saint Catherine’s Monastery in Sinai, Egypt. The Monastery is home to one of the most important collections of Christian manuscripts in the world, second in historical and spiritual significance only to that of the Vatican. 

The Monastery sits on the slopes of Mount Sinai protecting the library and its collection of manuscripts. The manuscripts offer unrivalled insights into the life and the faiths that coexisted within the Monastery walls for centuries. They reveal important information about the movement of people and ideas from Late Antiquity to the modern era and provide unrivalled evidence of the development of religious literature and the languages, some still spoken, others extinct, in which these texts were written.

Sharing historical insights
with today’s technology

Through systematic investment in secure storage and the latest technology, these manuscripts can be shared safely with scholars, academics and enthusiasts around the world, without risk or compromise to the original collection. Their contribution to research and education, in a surprisingly wide variety of fields, is invaluable.

The challenges of conservation in Sinai

However, the practicalities of getting resources and equipment into Sinai and carrying out work in the middle of a mountainous desert make the conservation and preservation of buildings and artefacts both complex and costly. This is why every single donation towards these projects is so urgently needed and gratefully received. 

Our Projects

  • Fire Safety Project

    Since 2019, the installation of a water-operated firefighting system across the Monastery campus has been ongoing.
  • South Range Project

    The original layout of the library was reconfigured with improved structural strength, state-of-the-art security and safety systems, inbuilt passive climatic control, making the best use of the available space.
  • East Wing Cells Project

    Originally dating from the 13th and 14th centuries, the cells situated along the Monastery’s East Wing were built of earth and timber which had deteriorated over time.
  • Printed Books Survey

    Specialist conservators have been using pioneering digital technology to prioritise and manage the future conservation of the Monastery’s historic collection of early printed books.
  • Water Wells Project

    The original water reserve situated above the library held insufficient water to deliver an effective fire response, for the new water-powered fire protection system.
  • Manuscript Survey

    Specialist conservators from around the world assessed 3,306 manuscripts to enable conservation to be scheduled according to need and significance.
  • Archbishop Porphyrios III Library Project

    Noted scholar, Archbishop Porphyrios III, held a substantial library with books dating back to the 15th century.
  • Kitchen Project

    In 2004, the old gas-fired kitchen, located immediately below the library, was dismantled, and moved to a new position in the eastern quarter of the Monastery, reducing the risk of damage by fire.
  • Design of conservation

    The creation of specialist areas equipped with the correct technology and tools for ongoing conservation and digitisation minimises the risk in transporting books and manuscripts during the conservation process.
  • Cell 31A Project

    In 2003, a set of manuscript fragments were discovered glued to the wall in cell 31A.
  • Achtinames Project

    The Achtiname, which, according to legend, was gifted by the Prophet Muhammad to the Monastery in the 7th century, grants the Fathers special privileges and protection.
  • Water Storage Project

    In 1999, the Monastery’s water tank was relocated to a new site outside of the Monastery’s walls, removing the risk of flooding.
  • Codex Sinaiticus Project

    In 1975, renovation works following an earthquake led to the discovery of 12 complete leaves and more than 20 fragments of the Codex Sinaiticus, the oldest surviving copy of the Bible.
  • Stainless Steel Boxing Project

    This ongoing project will protect 2,187 manuscripts from further damage and pigment loss, which can be caused by the dry and dusty Sinai environment.
  • Arts Collaboration

    Since the inception of the Saint Catherine Foundation, we’ve supported a wide range of cultural, historical and conservational activities to protect, promote and share the insights provided by Saint Catherine’s Monastery and the library that is houses.

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    The Saint Catherine Foundation

    ©The Saint Catherine Foundation. All rights reserved. The Saint Catherine Foundation is a registered charity in England and Wales (Charity Number 1053138). We are also a company limited by guarantee (Company Number 3091163).