Library of Saint Catherine's Monastery

By the Editors of the Madain Project

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The Library of Saint Catherine's Monastery is a historic library situated inside the Saint Catherine's Monastery of Sinai, holding a large number of notable manuscripts and books. The monastery library holds one of the largest and most interesting collections of religious texts in existence but unfortunately, it is not open to the public. The large numbers of valuable old manuscripts (more than 2,000) include works in Greek, Syriac, Persian, Amharic, Arabic, Turkish, and Russian.


Archives of Library of Saint Catherine's Monastery is the world's oldest continually operating library, possessing many unique books including the Syriac Sinaiticus and, until 1859, the Codex Sinaiticus. The monastery library preserves the second largest collection of early codices and manuscripts in the world, outnumbered only by the Vatican Library.

Library of Saint Catherine's Monastery

circa 555 CE

Library of Saint Catherine's Monastery

The Library in the Saint Catherine Monastery Complex contains Greek, Georgian, Arabic, Coptic, Hebrew, Armenian, Aramaic and Caucasian Albanian texts.

Notable Manuscripts

circa 555 CE

Codex Sinaiticus
The Codex Sinaiticus came to the attention of scholars in the 19th century at Saint Catherine's Monastery in the Sinai Peninsula, with further material discovered in the 20th and 21st centuries. The codex was written in the 4th century. It could not have been written before 325 because it contains the Eusebian Canons, which is a terminus post quem. The codex consists of parchment, originally in double sheets, which may have measured about 40 by 70 cm. The whole codex consists, with a few exceptions, of quires of eight leaves.

circa 555 CE

Patent of Prophet Muhammad
The Patent of Prophet Muhammad to the monks of Saint Catherine's Monastery. The Ahdname of Muhammad, also known as the Covenant or Testament (Testamentum) of Muhammad (the Islamic Prophet), is a document which is a charter or writ allegedly ratified by the Islamic prophet Muhammad granting protection and other privileges to the followers of Jesus the Nazarene, given to the Christian monks of Saint Catherine's Monastery. It is sealed with an imprint representing Muhammad's hand.

See Also

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