Conservation of a document at the monastery
The Achtiname is a document given to the Monastery of Saint Catherine by the Prophet Muhammad, granting the fathers special privileges and protection. The monastery's 16th-century Turkish copy of this important charter was repaired and remounted by the UK conservator Jane McAusland in 2001.
East Wing Cells
Renovation of historic cells
The earthen and timber East Wing cells are believed to date from the 13th-14th centuries. They were constructed of poor materials which deteriorated over time. Father Theoktistos and a team of Bedouin helpers restored the building, working over a period of years (2004–08). The architect and conservation consultant Dr Petros Koufopoulos supervised the work.
A project to detach and preserve manuscript leaves and fragments
In 2003 leaves from an Arabic manuscript were discovered glued to the wall of a disused cell in the west range of the monastery. The UK conservator Jane McAusland successfully detached the parchment fragments, with the assistance of Maria Kalligerou. Nicholas Pickwoad also helped. Some paper fragments were also discovered and preserved.
Download Nicholas Pickwoad's account of the work, 'Manuscript fragments in Room 31a, west range, second level, south side'.
Private Library of Archbishop Porphyrios III
Disinfestation of a collection of printed books at the Cairometochion
A serious insect infestion had taken hold of the collection, kept in the monastery's Cairo dependency. Archbishop of Sinai from 1926 to 1968, Porphyrios III was a noted scholar, and the books in his library date back to the 15th century. Dr Robert Child of the National Museum of Wales carried out specialist treatment in 2004. He sealed the books in plastic enclosures and flooded them with carbon dioxide and phosphine for three days.
Installation of a safe electric kitchen at the monastery
This project involved the creation of a safe electric kitchen near the medieval Refectory. The monastery's old gas kitchen was located just below the library on the first floor of the South Wing. It posed a serious fire risk.
The new kitchen is contained within a steel frame. It is equipped with a fire-extinguishing system and fireproof steel doors, as well as new sewage, plumbing and electrical connections. The old foundations were consolidated and historical elements were retained where possible. The wooden frame of the old floors was repaired. The floors themselves had to be reconstructed, together with the ceilings, staircases, windows and wooden and marble window sills.
Water Pumping Station
Removal of the old water storage tank from the library roof and creation of a safe water pumping station
This project was the Foundation's first (completed 1998). It was initiated to eliminate the risk of water damage to the Library from the old water storage tank located just above the library on the roof of the South Wing. The new water pumping station is safely situated outside the monastery walls.