CAIRO – 23 November 2021: Antiquities expert Abdel Rahim Rihan, director general of Archaeological Research, Studies and Scientific Publication in South Sinai’s archaeological sites, said that setting a date for the celebration of the international declaration of the Greatest Transfiguration Project to coincide with the annual celebration of Saint Catherine’s Martyrdom Day, on December 8 of each year, confirms embracing all faiths.
This comes as per the directives of the political leadership that instructed the launch of this national project in July 2020.
The Greatest Transfiguration project includes the development of the monastery, Jabal Musa, Wadi Al-Deir, and the path of the Prophet Moses from Wadi Al-Raha to the sacred bush tree, in addition to the path of Moses from Mount Sinai to Mount Sharia through Wadi Habran.
The project also includes the restoration and development of the monastery’s library and sub-churches, and protecting these buildings against the dangers of fire and floods. This is in addition to the development of the infrastructure of the region and the establishment of environmental hotel facilities, sophisticated bazaars and high-end stores to display Sinai products.
Furthermore, residences that complement the nature of the area will be built and public squares hosting the museums’ celebrations and festivals will be established as part of the project. Roads will also be developed, and the St. Catherine Airport will operate in the morning and evening, after being expanded and developed.
Rihan pointed out that St. Catherine was martyred in the year 307 AD, on Hatour 29 in the Coptic months. The monastery celebrates this occasion on December 8 of each year.
Saint Catherine is an Egyptian saint, and she is the daughter of Kostas from a noble family in Alexandria. She lived in Alexandria during the reign of the Roman Emperor Makimonos 305-311 AD and converted to Christianity during the time of paganism.
In order for the emperor to wrest her from Christianity, he issued orders to fifty sages of his time to discuss the issue with her in order to refute her proofs of Christianity, but all their attempts failed.
After the Byzantine era and until the 20th century, multiple headquarters were established all over the world and named after Saint Catherine, including the important Sinai headquarters in the city of Heraklion in Crete, from which a large number of important church figures graduated.
Rihan visited the place himself during his studies of Byzantine antiquities at the University of Athens.