THE LADDER OF DIVINE ASCENT BY JOHN CLIMACUS TRANSLATION BY COLM LUIBHEID AND NORMAN RUSSELL PREFACE BY BISHOP KALISTOS WARE
Prayer is the mother and daughter of tears. It is an expiation of sin, a bridge across temptation, a bulwark against affliction. It wipes out conflict, is the work of angels, and is the nourishment of everything spiritual.”
— St. John Climacus
The Ladder of Divine Ascent was the most widely used handbook of the ascetic life in the ancient Orthodox Church. Popular among both lay and monastics, it was translated into Latin, Syriac, Arabic, Armenian, Old Slavonic, and many modern languages. It was written while the author (who received his surname from this book) was abbot of the monastery of St. Catherine on Mount Sinai. As reflected in the title, the ascetical life is portrayed as a ladder which each aspirant must ascend, each step being a virtue to be acquired, or a vice to be surrendered. Its thirty steps reflect the hidden life of Christ himself. This work has had a fundamental influence in particularly the Hesychastic, Jesus Prayer, or Prayer of the Heart movement.