|John of the Ladder, John Scholasticus, John Sinaites|
|Died||March 649 (aged 69–70)|
|Venerated in|| Roman Catholic Church |
Eastern Catholic Churches
Eastern Orthodox Church
|Feast||30 March, Fourth Sunday of Great Lent|
|Attributes||Clothed as a monk, sometimes with an Abbot's paterissa (crozier), sometimes holding a copy of his Ladder|
|Part of a series on the|
|Eastern Orthodox Church|
John Climacus (Greek : Ἰωάννης τῆς Κλίμακος; Latin : Ioannes Climacus), also known as John of the Ladder, John Scholasticus and John Sinaites, was a 6th-7th-century Christian monk at the monastery on Mount Sinai. He is revered as a saint by the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic churches.
There is almost no information about John's life. There is in existence an ancient Vita (life) of the saint by a monk named Daniel of Raithu monastery. Daniel, though claiming to be a contemporary, admits to no knowledge of John's origins—any detail on John's birth is the result of much later speculation, and is confined to references in the Menologion. The Vita is generally unhelpful for establishing dates of any kind. Formerly scholarship, on the basis of John's entry in the Menologion, had placed him in the latter 6th Century. That view was challenged by J.C. Guy and others, and consensus (such as there is) has shifted to a 7th Century provenance. If Daniel's Vita is trustworthy (there is nothing against which to judge its accuracy), then John came to the Vatos Monastery at Mount Sinai, now Saint Catherine's Monastery, and became a novice when he was about 16 years old. He was taught about the spiritual life by the elder monk Martyrius. After the death of Martyrius, John, wishing to practice greater asceticism, withdrew to a hermitage at the foot of the mountain. In this isolation he lived for some twenty years, constantly studying the lives of the saints and thus becoming one of the most learned Church Fathers.When he was about sixty-five years of age, the monks of Sinai persuaded him to become their Igumen. He acquitted himself of his functions as abbot with the greatest wisdom, and his reputation spread so far that, according to the Vita, Pope Gregory the Great wrote to recommend himself to his prayers, and sent him a sum of money for the hospital of Sinai, in which the pilgrims were wont to lodge.
Of John's literary output we know only the Κλῖμαξ (Latin : Scala Paradisi) or Ladder of Divine Ascent , composed in the early seventh century at the request of John, Abbot of Raithu, a monastery situated on the shores of the Red Sea, and a shorter work To the Pastor (Latin: Liber ad Pastorem), most likely a sort of appendix to the Ladder. It is in the Ladder' that we hear of the ascetic practice of carrying a small notebook to record the thoughts of the monk during contemplation.
The Ladder describes how to raise one's soul and body to God through the acquisition of ascetic virtues. Climacus uses the analogy of Jacob's Ladder as the framework for his spiritual teaching. Each chapter is referred to as a "step", and deals with a separate spiritual subject. There are thirty Steps of the ladder, which correspond to the age of Jesus at his baptism and the beginning of his earthly ministry. Within the general framework of a 'ladder', Climacus' book falls into three sections. The first seven Steps concern general virtues necessary for the ascetic life, while the next nineteen (Steps 8–26) give instruction on overcoming vices and building their corresponding virtues. The final four Steps concern the higher virtues toward which the ascetic life aims. The final rung of the ladder—beyond prayer (προσευχή), stillness (ἡσυχία), and even dispassion (ἀπάθεια)—is love (ἀγάπη).
Originally written simply for the monks of a neighboring monastery, the Ladder swiftly became one of the most widely read and much-beloved books of Byzantine spirituality. This book is one of the most widely read among Orthodox Christians, especially during the season of Great Lent which immediately precedes Pascha (Easter). It is often read in the trapeza (refectory) in Orthodox monasteries, and in some places it is read in church as part of the Daily Office on Lenten weekdays, being prescribed in the Triodion.
An icon known by the same title, Ladder of Divine Ascent, depicts a ladder extending from earth to heaven (cf. Genesis 28:12) Several monks are depicted climbing a ladder; at the top is Jesus, prepared to receive them into Heaven. Also shown are angels helping the climbers, and demons attempting to shoot with arrows or drag down the climbers, no matter how high up the ladder they may be. Most versions of the icon show at least one person falling. Often, in the lower right corner John Climacus himself is shown, gesturing towards the ladder, with rows of monastics behind him.
Saint John's feast day is March 30 in both the East and West. The Eastern Orthodox Church and the Byzantine Catholic Churches additionally commemorate him on the Fourth Sunday of Great Lent. Many churches are dedicated to him in Russia, including a church and belltower in the Moscow Kremlin. John Climacus was also known as "Scholasticus," but he is not to be confused with John Scholasticus, Patriarch of Constantinople.
Several translations into English have been made, including one by Holy Transfiguration Monastery (Boston, 1978). This volume contains the Life of St. John by Daniel, The Ladder of Divine Ascent, and To the Pastor, and provides footnotes explaining many of the concepts and terminology used from an Orthodox perspective, as well as a General Index.
Hesychasm is a mystical tradition of contemplative prayer in the Eastern Orthodox Church. Based on Jesus's injunction in the Gospel of Matthew that "whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you", hesychasm in tradition has been the process of retiring inward by ceasing to register the senses, in order to achieve an experiential knowledge of God.
Great Lent, or the Great Fast, is the most important fasting season in the church year in the Eastern Orthodox Church, Byzantine Rite Lutheran Churches and the Eastern Catholic Churches, which prepares Christians for the greatest feast of the church year, Pascha (Easter).
The Philokalia is "a collection of texts written between the 4th and 15th centuries by spiritual masters" of the Eastern Orthodox Church mystical hesychast tradition. They were originally written for the guidance and instruction of monks in "the practice of the contemplative life". The collection was compiled in the 18th century by Nicodemus the Hagiorite and Macarius of Corinth based on the codices 472, 605, 476, 628 and 629 from the library of monastery of Vatopedi, Mount Athos.
Saint Catherine's Monastery, officially "Sacred Monastery of the God-Trodden Mount Sinai", is an Eastern Orthodox monastery located on the Sinai Peninsula, at the mouth of a gorge at the foot of Mount Sinai, near the town of Saint Catherine, Egypt. The monastery is named after Catherine of Alexandria.
Jacob's Ladder is a ladder leading to heaven that was featured in a dream the biblical Patriarch Jacob had during his flight from his brother Esau in the Book of Genesis.
Christian monasticism is the devotional practice of individuals who live ascetic and typically cloistered lives that are dedicated to Christian worship. It began to develop early in the history of the Christian Church, modeled upon scriptural examples and ideals, including those in the Old Testament, but not mandated as an institution in the scriptures. It has come to be regulated by religious rules and, in modern times, the Canon law of the respective Christian denominations that have forms of monastic living. Those living the monastic life are known by the generic terms monks (men) and nuns (women). The word monk originated from the Greek μοναχός, itself from μόνος meaning 'alone'.
Mary of Egypt is revered as the patron saint of penitents, most particularly in the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Churches, and Oriental Orthodox Churches.
John Cassian, also known as John the Ascetic and John Cassian the Roman, was a Christian monk and theologian celebrated in both the Western and Eastern churches for his mystical writings. Cassian is noted for his role in bringing the ideas and practices of Christian monasticism to the early medieval West.
March 29 - Eastern Orthodox liturgical calendar - March 31
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Discernment of Spirits is a term used in Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Charismatic (Evangelist) Christian theology to indicate judging various spiritual agents for their moral influence. These agents are:
John Moschus (Greek: Ιωάννης Μόσχος, c. 550 – 619; name from the Ancient Greek: ὁ τοῦ Μόσχου, romanized: o tou Moschou, lit. 'son of Moschos', was a Byzantine monk and ascetical writer.
Saint Euthymius the Great was an abbot in Palestine. He is venerated in both Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches.
The Ladder of Divine Ascent, or Ladder of Paradise, is an important ascetical treatise for monasticism in Eastern Christianity written by John Climacus in ca. AD 600 at the request of John, Abbot of Raithu, a monastery located on the shores of the Red Sea.
Venerable Zosimas of Palestine, also called Zosima, is commemorated as a saint in the Eastern Orthodox and Byzantine Catholic Churches on April 4.
John Chryssavgis is an author and theologian who serves as advisor to the Ecumenical Patriarch on environmental issues. He is a clergyman of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. In January 2012, he received the title of Archdeacon of the Ecumenical Throne by His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.
The Ladder of Divine Ascent is a late 12th century icon at Saint Catherine's Monastery, Mount Sinai.
Prayer has been an essential part of Christianity since its earliest days. As the Middle Ages began, the monastic traditions of both Western and Eastern Christianity moved beyond vocal prayer to Christian meditation. These progressions resulted in two distinct and different meditative practices: Lectio Divina in the West and hesychasm in the East. Hesychasm involves the repetition of the Jesus Prayer, but Lectio Divina uses different Scripture passages at different times and although a passage may be repeated a few times, Lectio Divina is not repetitive in nature.
Prelest, also known as: spiritual delusion, spiritual deception, delusion, illusion, – according to Holy Fathers of Orthodox Church, a false spiritual state, a spiritual illness, "a wounding of human nature by falsehood". The concept of prelest should not be confused with somatic mental illness of any kind; prelest is rather a spiritual illness, an illness of the soul in its personal relation to God, an illness that originates from vainglory, pride and demonic suggestion and that is to be cured by humility and Holy Sacraments and under the guidance of the spiritual father. In the broadest sense, everyone is in prelest: everyone has some wrong thoughts and views, everyone does not fully understand the meaning of life, the degree of own sinfulness etc. When the word "prelest" is used in the narrow sense, i.e. that some particular person is in the state of prelest, that usually means that this person, initially being on the path of pious Christian life, became possessed with the strongest pride and self-conceit right up to the thought about personal sanctity. To consider oneself a saint - that is a clear prelest because the closer a man is to God, the more he sees his imperfection, and all true saints considered themselves in the feeling of the heart the greatest sinners. The state opposite to prelest is spiritual sobriety. This article is dedicated to different manifestations of prelest mostly in the "narrow" sense.