Saint John of the Ladder

English Language Study for Russian Orthodox Learners

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(Fourth Sunday of Great Lent, March 30/April 12)
(†649)

Saint John of the LadderSaint John of the Ladder was a great ascetic of the Orthodox Church and author of the spiritual book of instructions for monks.  His name comes from the title of his book, The Ladder, or Klimakos in Greek.

John was born in Constantinople around 570 in the family of Saints Xenophon and Maria.  When he was only sixteen, John went to the monastery on Mount Sinai.  For nineteen years monk John practiced obedience to his spiritual Father, Abba Martyrios.  When his teacher died, John began a life of solitude in a place called Thola.  He spent forty years there, praying and fasting.  Saint John wanted to hide his deeds of asceticism from others and for some time lived in a cave.

Father John’s humility was exceptional.  People came to him for advice, and he, with great love and kindness, always helped them on their way to salvation.

St. John's LadderRespect for Father John was so great that he was chosen to become abbot of St. Catherine’s Monastery on Mount Sinai.  He was seventy-five at the time.  Saint John was asked to write a book for monks who wanted to reach spiritual perfection.

Saint John named his book The Ladder because people who try to free themselves from sin get closer to Heaven by climbing an invisible ladder.  The book describes thirty steps.  After a monk climbs all of them and conquers all sins, he will be among the righteous.

The book is a great guide not only for monks, but also for laypeople who want to lead a pure Christian life.

Father John was abbot for four years.  He reposed in the Lord in 649.  Our Church commemorates St. John of the Ladder on the fourth Sunday of Great Lent.


Xenophon [ˈzenəfən]
Martyrios [ˈmɑːtɪˈraɪəs]
Thola [ˈðəulə]
Catherine [ˈkæθrɪn]

Словарь к тексту

ladder, n. [ˈlædəʳ] лестница
ascetic, n. [əˈse tɪk] аскет
obedience, n. [əˈbɪː dɪ əns] послушание
solitude, n. [ˈsɒ lɪ tjuːd] одиночество, уединённость
salvation, n. [sælˈveɪ ʃən] спасение
guide, n. [gaɪd] инструкция, руководство
climb, v. [klaɪm] взбираться, подниматься
invisible, adj. [ɪnˈvɪzəbl] невидимый