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The holy monastery of Mount Sinai (twelfth century)

Accession number BZS 1947.2.159
Diameter 29 mm
Field diameter 19 mm
Previous Editions

DO Seals 5 no. 21.1; Laurent, Corpus 5.2: no. 1576 (listed as Shaw 1183).


Moses receiving the Ten Commandments from the hand of God; the burning bush is before him. Inscription in two columns: Ο|ΠΡ|ΟΦ,|Τ,ΜΟ|ΗΣ : Ὁ προφ(ή)τ(ης) Μοησ(ῆς). Border of dots.


Inscription of five lines, a decoration above. Border of dots.


Τῖς ἁγίας μονῆς τοῦ Σινᾶ ὄρους.


Τῖς ἁγίας μονῆς τοῦ Σινᾶ ὄρους.

(Seal) of the holy monastery of Mount Sinai.


More commonly called the monastery of St. Catherine from the eleventh century, the famous monastery of Mount Sinai was located on the site where by tradition Moses beheld the burning bush and received the Ten Commandments. It was founded and fortified by the emperor Justinian between 548 and 562, and has functioned uninterruptedly down to the present day. See Laurent, Corpus 5.2:408; ODB 1:341, 392; 3:1902–3; G. H. Forsyth and Kurt Weitzmann, The Monastery of Saint Catherine at Mount Sinai.

The iconography of the seal recalls the scenes of Moses before the burning bush and his reception of the Tenth Commandments rendered in the monastery's church; cf. Forsyth and Weitzmann, Monastery, plates CXXVI and CXXVII.