The Entrance to the Cave of Saint John Climacus

Saint John Climacus spent forty years living as a solitary, before being elected Abbot of Sinai.

Προσευχή ἐστι, κατὰ μὲν τὴν αὐτῆς ποιότητα, συνουσία καὶ ἔνωσις ἀνθρώπου καὶ Θεοῦ· κατὰ δὲ τὴν ἐνέργειαν, κόσμου σύστασις, Θεοῦ καταλλαγή.

Prayer, by reason of its nature, is the converse and union of man with God, and by reason of its action upholds the world and brings about reconciliation with God.

(The Ladder of Divine Ascent, 28.1)

3 comments to The Entrance to the Cave of Saint John Climacus

  • Mark

    Father Justin,

    I am new to following your wonderful blog, so you might have addressed my question previously. I wonder, though, when the front wall and doorway was constructed. Were the stairs and wall to the left added at the same time? Thank you for your blog. I long for a day when I can visit!

    • Father Justin

      There are no true caves in the Sinai, but there are places where massive boulders have come together, creating a sheltered space beneath. If you fill in the gaps, and build a front wall, you can create a cave. Such walls were probably field stones and mud mortar in the sixth century, and these would have been repaired many times since then. The chapel below was constructed in the 1970s, and the concrete steps leading up to the cave, and the metal door, probably were also added then. Without the steps, the entrance would have been very steep. I have wondered if the cave was reached by a ladder in ancient times.

  • Mark

    Thank you for the information! Absolutely fascinating. A ladder would make sense … not just logistically but also metaphorically!

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