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ladder of divine ascent

The Gifts of the Evangelist Luke

Icon by Kh. Erin Kimmett - apicons@yahoo.comIcon by Kh. Erin Kimmett - apicons@yahoo.com"With Sacred Songs, let us praise the holy Apostle,the Narrator of the Acts of the Apostles, and Author of the Bright Gospel of Christ, the All-Hymned Luke, Whose Fame is not conned to Christ's Church, for He is the Physician who heals men's ills, Nature's frailties, and the soul's injuries, and he prays unceasingly, for our souls."
+ Troparion of St. Luke the Evangelist, Tone 5

"The one who hears you hears Me, and the one who rejects you rejects Me, and the one who rejects Me rejects Him who sent Me." Luke 10:16–24

The Seventy returned with joy, saying, "Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name!"

And He said to them, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven." In that same hour He rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, "I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was Your gracious will. All things have been handed over to Me by my Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him."

Then turning to the disciples He said privately, "Blessed are the eyes that see what you see! For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it."
Luke 10:16-2

St. John Climacus: The Forgotten Saint

Whenever I think of Great Lent, I make it a point to remember a meaningful conversation I had just a few years ago. I was on a pilgrimage in Greece, visiting a centuries-old church, when an old priest sat down next to me and struck up a conversation. At one point he observed that the Christians in America make Christianity look easy.

I sat in silence for a moment because I was surprised by his bold statement. "Why do you say that?" I asked.

"Because you have forgotten about John," he replied as he let out a grin.

"John who?" I responded, knowing full well that Orthodoxy has a lot of special people named John. "Are you talking about St. John the Baptist or St. John Chrysostom?" I asked.

"Neither," the old priest replied. "I'm speaking of Saint John, the one with the ladder."

St. John Climacus is one of the great saints of our Church. He so special that the Church remembers St. John, not once, as we do with most saints, but twice a year. His feast day is always celebrated on March 30th, but the Church also devotes the fourth Sunday of Great Lent to this majestic church father.

The early life of St. John is shrouded in mystery. While we know that he was born in Palestine in the year 579 A.D., not much is known of his parents or of the days of his youth. All we know is that St. John received a general education and that he entered into the monastic ranks at the age of sixteen. From that early age, St. John embraced the life of solitude and ascesis, as he progressed greatly in the spiritual life.

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