News Release

World Leading Conservator Set for Magee Lecture

9th June 2009

St Catherine's Monastery on Mount Sinai

Preserving the famous manuscripts of the world’s oldest Christian monastery – St Catherine’s on Mount Sinai – will be the focus of a guest lecture at the University of Ulster’s Magee campus next week.

Leading conservator Professor Nicholas Pickwoad, Director of the Ligatus Research Unit of the University of the Arts, London and advisor with the St Catherine’s Monastery Library Project in Egypt, will reveal plans to protect what are some of the most precious documents of the early Christian period.

St Catherine’s Monastery sits at the bottom of Mount Sinai where Moses is traditionally believed to have received the Commandments.

“St Catherine’s Monastery on Mount Sinai is exceptional in many ways. It is the oldest active Christian monastery in the world, and its library has preserved manuscripts of outstanding importance from the early Christian period. It also houses the largest collection of early Byzantine/Greek bindings to have survived,” explains Joe McLaughlin, University Archivist and Rare Books Curator.

“The task of preserving it for the future requires an equally exceptional approach, one that will preserve not only access to the texts but also its unique character and archaeological importance as a Greek Orthodox site in the inhospitable setting of the Sinai desert."

He added: “Nicholas’s lecture will be illustrated, and will be of interest to anyone concerned with ancient books and manuscripts and in Biblical and secular history."

Professor Pickwoad’s lecture will take place at 6.30pm on Thursday 18 June in MD 108, University of Ulster, Magee.  This event is hosted in association with the Derry and Raphoe Diocesan Library Project, a partnership between the University of Ulster and the Church of Ireland Diocese of Derry and Raphoe.

Tickets can be reserved by emailing:   or by telephone on:  028 71375456.
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