A sacred place is a site endowed with a transcendent presence. It is a place set apart from the profane world, a place where you are commanded not to touch, and to remove your sandals from your feet. But the unique feature here, without parallel in the antique world, is the desolation of the landscape. No other place is more barren that this, no other place more holy, more legendary.
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Originally published in Sinaiticus, The Bulletin of the Saint Catherine Foundation, 2019. Republished here with thanks to the Foundation and the Monastery.