Of the six tribes that inhabit the South Sinai area, the tribe of the Jebeliya is the oldest and the one most closely attached to the monastery, as they are the descendants of the guards that the Emperor Justinian dispatched to the monastery in the sixth century. The Jebeliya are subdivided into four families: the descendants of Selim, of Emb or Ouhembat, of Hement, and of Ntzinti.
The bedouin tribe of Said is subdivided into the families of Chef, of Msala’am, and of Abu Zheri. The tribe of Alegkat is subdivided into the families of Hampada, Sauada abnd Tselat. The tribe of Sualha is subdivided into the families of Auarma, Mansour, Tytesat, and Nauara of Mahanse. The tribe of Gkarasrie is subdivided into the families of Nassaire, Bantur, Hassanse, and Haramse. The tribe of the Mizena is subdivided into the families of Abu Sampha, Ameriyn, Dararma, and Gsenat.
From its foundation, the monastery has existed as a stabilizing and peacemaking element among the tribes. In their differences, in their disputes, or even in their wars, they have always resorted to the Holy Monastery’s just judgment for a resolution, as it was an accepted fact that the area of the mountainous South Sinai belonged to its spiritual jurisdiction. As a matter of fact, many times the Holy Monastery decided to cede to the various tribes the properties that had been left vacant by the hermits, leaving a guardian for certain historical sites or habitations that had a small chapel. These, today, comprise the various shrines of Sinai.