This series is a testimony to the Spirit breathing where He wills.” America John Climacus: The Ladder of Divine Ascent edited and translated by Colm Luibheid and Norman Russell notes on translation by Norman Russell, preface by Kallistos 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.” John Climacus (c. 579-649) The Ladder of Divine Ascent was the most widely used handbook of the ascetic life in the ancient Greek 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 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 had a fundamental influence in the particularly the Hesychastic, Jesus Prayer, or Prayer of the Heart movement. Pierre Pourrat in his History of Christian Spirituality calls John Climacus the “most important ascetical theologian of the East, at this epoch, who enjoyed a great reputation and exercised and important influence on future centuries.
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The fourth-century ascetic flight to the desert indelibly marked Christianity. The faithful who did not embrace the austerity of the desert admired those who did and sought them out for counsel and consolation. The ‘words’ the monks gave were collected and passed around among those too far away or too feeble to make the trek [...]
The insights of the desert monks of the fifth and sixth centuries amaze, and startle, readers by their wisdom. Among other things, they teach that the first step in overcoming our sinfulness is an honest perception of things as they are. By arranging these “words” in short Daily readings, Tim Vivian invites modern readers to [...]
“Love little things, and strive for that which is modest and simple. The Lord watches over us, and He is pleased that you long for His peace. Until the soul is ready, He will only sometimes allow us to see that He is present everywhere and fills all things. At these moments the soul feels [...]
The Syriac Fathers on Prayer and the Spiritual Life By: Sebastian Brock From the semitic-aramaic spirituality of the early Church to the Hellenized theological Vision of later centuries, the Syrian tradition offers modern Christians an intensity, insights, and an immediacy rare in the West.
Macarius the Great (also referred to as Macarius of Egypt or Macarius the Egyptian) presided over a loosely knit scattering of ascetic monastic communities in the fourth century Egyptian desert. He enjoyed great respect during his lifetime and his fame was further spread after appearing in Palladius’ Lausiac History. This volume presents three ancient texts [...]
One of the most profound works on repentance in all of Christendom. St. Theophan, a beloved Orthodox bishop from nineteenth-century Russia, speaks not only from a deep knowledge of the Church Fathers, but also from a lifetime of experience in turning his heart to God-and guiding others on this glorious Way that leads to our [...]