The world’s oldest monastery has been restored

Apologies for my long blog silence. I spent most of last week serving on a jury, and the remainder battling off a life threatening Man Cold. But now I’m done with both, and ready to get back at it. Lucky you.

First, here’s a little good news for Christians in the Middle East: The world’s oldest monastery has been restored, and at no cost to the faithful.

Egypt’s antiquities chief on Thursday unveiled the completion of an 8-year, $14.5 million restoration of the world’s oldest Christian monastery, touting it as a sign of Christian-Muslim coexistence.

The announcement at the 1,600-year-old St. Anthony’s Monastery came a month after Egypt’s worst incident of sectarian violence in over a decade, when a shooting on a church on Orthodox Christmas Eve killed seven people….

St. Anthony, widely revered as the founder of Christian monasticism, settled in this remote mountainous area at the end of the 3rd century to live in isolation. Upon his death, his followers built the monastery, which was completed around A.D. 350 remains in use to this day.

In the government-sponsored project, workers renovated the fortress-like ancient wall surrounding the monastery and the walls of its two main churches — the 14th century Church of the Apostles and the 6th century Church of St. Anthony. They also renovated monks’ quarters and a 6th century tower into which monks would retreat during attacks by marauding Bedouin tribes throughout the Middle Ages.

As an interesting side note, the renovation work was carried out by Muslims.

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The award for Funniest Reaction to that Tim Tebow spot goes to Slate’s Mary Elizabeth Williams: “Weirdest eHarmony ad ever.”

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Anyone interested in a used space shuttle? NASA is having a sidewalk sale, and you can pick up the Atlantis for about $28 million. If I had that kind of money, I’d be seriously tempted to buy it, just so I could put it up on blocks in the front yard.

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Here’s a video I missed last week: Reason.TV takes an entertaining look at the president’s use of Orwellian doublethink/doubletalk in his State of the Union Address.

 

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Brian Saint-Paul was the editor and publisher of Crisis Magazine. He has a BA in Philosophy and an MA in Religious Studies from the Catholic University of America, in Washington. D.C. In addition to various positions in journalism and publishing, he has served as the associate director of a health research institute, a missionary, and a private school teacher. He lives with his wife in a historic Baltimore neighborhood, where he obsesses over Late Antiquity.

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