Church History Saints Spirituality

Saint John Climacus

“Run, I beseech you, with him who said: Let us hasten until we attain to the unity of faith and the knowledge of God, unto a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the
fullness of Christ…”

– Saint John Climacus
(The Ladder of Divine Ascent, A Brief Exhortation, p 248)



A word of caution when reading The Ladder of Divine Ascent:

“Like with other ascetical and spiritual texts, this one [The Ladder of Divine Ascent] should be read carefully. Since the original audience was those practicing the monastic life, the language is very strong when contrasting the life of the world and the life devoted to God. This is one of the reasons why this work should be read under the guidance of a spiritual father. This work can be read at once with careful attention and intense concentration, trying to replicate as much as possible the monastic life. Yet it can also be read in its individual steps as well. The bottom line is that a spiritual father should be there as a guiding hand with this work.”


The Ladder of Divine Ascent

Break with the World

Step 1 – Renunciation
Step 2 – Detachment
Step 3 – Exile

Fundamental Virtues

Step 4 – Obedience
Step 5 – Repentance
Step 6 – Remembrance of Death
Step 7 – Joy-making Mourning
Step 8 – Meekness / Freedom from Anger

The Spiritual Passions

Step 9 – Remembrance of Wrongs / Malice
Step 10 – Slander
Step 11 – Talkativeness and Silence
Step 12 – Falsehood / Lying
Step 13 – Despondency / Tedium

The Physical Passions

Step 14 – Gluttony – “that clamorous mistress, the stomach”
Step 15 – Lust and Chastity
Step 16 – Avarice / Love of Money
Step 17 – Poverty / Non-possessiveness

The Spiritual Passions (continued)

Step 18 – Insensibility / Lack of Awareness
Step 19 – Sleep, Prayer, and Church
Step 20 – Alertness / Bodily Vigil
Step 21 – Fear / Cowardice
Step 22 – Vainglory
Step 23 – Pride & Unclean Blasphemous Thoughts

The Higher Virtues

Step 24 – Meekness / Simplicity
Step 25 – Humility – “the Destroyer of the Passions”
Step 26 – Discernment

Union with God

Step 27 – Stillness
Step 28 – Prayer – “the Mother of Virtues”
Step 29 – Dispassion
Step 30 – Faith, Hope, and Love

Arrangement into sections by Thirty Steps to Heaven: The Ladder of Divine Ascent for All Walks of Life (Papavassiliou)


Troparion — Tone 8

By a flood of tears you made the desert fertile
And by your longing for God you brought forth fruits in abundance.
By the radiance of miracles you illuminated the whole universe.
O our holy Father John Climacus, pray to Christ our God to save our souls.

Kontakion — Tone 1

You offered us your teachings as fruits of everlasting freshness,
To sweeten the hearts of those who receive them with attention.
O blessed and wise John, they are the rungs of a ladder,
Leading the souls of those who honor you from earth to Eternal glory in Heaven!

Feast Day(s)

March 30
Fourth week of Great Lent

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