St John Clemacus Celebrated on March 30th

Monk and Abbot of Mt Sinai. A seventh century Palestinian, John was married as a young man. When his wife died he became a monk. He lived in a community for a short time and then became a hermit.

He lived at Thole, coming to church with other Egyptian solitaries on Saturdays and Sundays, but spending the rest of the week alone.

His name means ladder, and he wrote a book called the Ladder to Paradise, which deals with monastic spirituality, the vices and virtues of communal life and the pursuit of apatheria (passive disinterestedness) which was regarded as a perfect state.

When he was seventy he was chosen to be the abbot of Sinai. He ruled for four years before retiring to his hermitage where he died in 649.

His concept of the spiritual life as a ladder inspired many artists. His emblem is also a ladder.

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