In the garden of St. Catherine's Monastery is a small Cemetery with the Chapel of St. Tryphon and a Charnel House. The scantiness of earth does not permit permanent graves, so the Monks buried in the Cemetery are later exhumed and their bones placed in the ossuary. The remains of the Archbishops are kept in special niches. The Charnel House also serves a spiritual purpose. The site of the piled bones makes both Monks and visitors meditate on life and death, on the vanity of human and earthly matters.
One of the oldest skeletons found in the Charnel House is that of a hermit named Stephanos, a 6th century Monk who is found in a seated position, dressed in the purple vestments. It is said that Stephanos lived on the holy mountain of Sinai for many years in a lonely dwelling, where he struggled on behalf of monasticism. A man of many virtues, he served as Guardian of the path to Mount Sinai.
St. Stephanos is said to have died in 580 AD whilst at the Monastery. His last request was be allowed to continue his services. After his death, he was thus was placed at the Charnel House, where his fully clothed skeleton still guards the entrance today.
Saint Catherine's Monastery
Janub Sina', Egypt
Plot: Charnel House.
Created by: Eman Bonnici
Record added: Sep 09, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 96738735
Added: Sep. 10, 2012
Pray For Us, Beloved Saint Stephanos!|
Added: Sep. 9, 2012