The Journey of Saint Catherine of Mount Sinai
Duelt, Daniel Duran
Mediterraneum: The Splendor of the Medieval Mediterranean (13th-15th centuries), ed. Xavier Barral i Altet (Lunwerg, 2004)
During the Middle Ages, the monastery of Saint Catherine of Mount Sinai was a pilgrimage centre of great importance for the Christian world. The 6th century foundation by Justinian was established in the environs of the place where, according to the Scriptures, Moses had seen the burning bramblebush, received the Tables of the Law and made water spring forth for the people of Israel. But for Christians it stood out, above all, as the place to which angels had taken the body of Saint Catherine after her martyrdom in the city of Alexandria. The importance of that cult was such that towards the 11th century the monastery changed its original name of the Transfiguration (Metamorphosis) to that of Saint Catherine.
The interest awoken by the miraculous saint and the relative closeness of her monastery to the Holy Places of Palestine favoured its inclusion in the routes of pilgrims to the Holy Land. But while the Orthodox Christians frequented it from the beginning, the Christians of the Roman obedience only did so significantly after the Crusades and, above all, after the enormous diffusion of devotion to the saint throughout the West from the end of the 11th century.