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 development of Christian monasticism generally and 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 his epoch who enjoyed a great reputation and exercised an important influence on future centuries."-- Backcover
Author: St John Climacus