By Aziz S. Atiya

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The body of St. Catherine, an early fourth-century Coptic martyr in Alexandria, is said to have been enshrined intact in the monastery of Mt. Sinai during the ninth century. At present, Sinai has only the skull and the left hand of the Saint in a small white sarcophagus or casket with rich pious offerings of wrought gold and precious stones, on the side of the altar of the famous cathedral which Justinian built to commemorate the Empress Theodora. Those who visit the ruins of the Basilica of St.

Toward to the end of 800, we hear of two Eastern monks Rome on behalf of the patriarch of Jerusalem, one renowned monastery of St. Sabas and another coming from the still from the monastery of the Mount of Olives. They were accompanied by the priest Zaccharias, and brought with them the keys of the Holy Sepulchre, the standard of the city of Jerusalem, and some sacred relics which they presented to Charlemagne. This show must have impressed Pope Leo III, who hastened plans to place the crown of the Holy Roman Empire on Charles head in the Basilica of St.

One Lakhmid king, al-Mundhir I, became tutor to a Persian prince, Vahram Gor, whom he advanced in 420 to the Sassanid throne. A Syrian bishop of the Arabs took his seat at Basrah, and a daughter of Mundhir founded Christian nunneries within the Arabian Peninsula near the Mesopotamian frontier. Between 604 and 611, on the eve of the Islamic revolution, the insignificant Arab tribe of Banu Bakr fought and defeated a Sassanid army at Dhu-qar between Wasit and Kufah on the bank of the Euphrates. This was a portentous demonstration that the great empire was no longer invulnerable even to the nomadic Arabs.

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