Climacus Sunday

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Ladder of Divine Ascent (detail)
Climacus Sunday

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Let us strive to make our calling and election sure, at The Good Shepherd Orthodox Church this Sunday.

Divine Liturgy — 10:00 am

Join us in celebrating the Divine Liturgy on this fourth Sunday of Lent.

With the rivers of your tears, you have made the barren desert fertile. Through sighs of sorrow from deep within you, your labours have borne fruit a hundredfold. By your miracles you have become a light, shining upon the world. O John, our Holy Father, pray to Christ our God, to save our souls.

As ever-blooming fruits, you offer the teachings of your God-given book, O wise John, most blessed, while sweetening the hearts of all them that heed it with vigilance; for it is a ladder from the earth unto Heaven that confers glory on the souls that ascend it and honor you faithfully.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

O righteous Father, you heard the voice of the Gospel and set aside the world, riches, and glory, counting them as naught. Therefore, you cried unto all: love God, and you will find eternal favour. Put nothing above His love, that when He comes in His glory you may find rest with all the saints. Therefore, by their intercessions, O Christ God, preserve and save our souls.

About the Sunday of St. John Climacus, author of “The Ladder of Divine Ascent”

The Fourth Sunday of Lent is dedicated to Saint John of the Ladder (Climacus), the author of the work, “The Ladder of Divine Ascent.” St. John Climacus, the abbot of Saint Catherine’s Monastery on Mount Sinai (6th century), stands as a witness to the violent effort needed for entrance into God’s Kingdom (Mt.10: 12). The spiritual struggle of the Christian life is a real one, “not against flesh and blood, but against ... the rulers of the present darkness ... the hosts of wickedness in heavenly places ...” (Eph 6:12). Saint John encourages the faithful in their efforts for, according to the Lord, only “he who endures to the end will be saved” (Mt.24:13).

St. John of the Ladder (Climacus is the Greek word for Ladder) lived in the sixth and seventh centuries (580-650). He was the saintly Abbot of the Monastery of St Catherine of Mt. Sinai. His famous work, “The Ladder of Divine Ascent” is still read at mealtimes in monasteries during Lent.

Icon of the Ladder of Divine Ascent

St John of the Ladder's work, reminiscent of the ladder in Jacob’s dream that extended from heaven to earth, is made up of 30 steps enabling us to progress in our journey towards Christ's likeness. Each of the 30 steps represents one year in the life of Christ up to His baptism. This ladder is a profound illustration.

It was not Jacob who built the ladder to God, it was God Who let down the ladder from heaven and came to where sinful Jacob was. In the same way, God came to us through the incarnation and meets us as sinners on the bottom rung of the ladder and climbs with us. To be baptised marks the first step of the ladder we then need to make spiritual progress. Christ Himself is the ladder and without His grace we could not make progress at all. But we do have to make some effort to climb. 

The icon of Saint John's Ladder shows a constant stream of monks ascending the ladder, demons representing the temptations that attempt to hinder their ascent, and angels who are helping them climb higher, while Christ is waiting at the top of the ladder to welcome the monks home.


The Good Shepherd Orthodox Church, located in Clayton, Melbourne, is a living witness to the power of the Gospel and the fullness of the Christian Faith in modern, secular Australia.

We are a vibrant Australian Christian community under the direction of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia, New Zealand & the Philippines, within the jurisdiction of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East.

The Church of Antioch is the continuation of the Christian community founded in Antioch by the Apostles Peter (who served as its first bishop) and Paul. The Patriarchate of Antioch is the oldest of the ancient Patriarchates constituting the one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church of Jesus Christ.

All services are in the English language and are held in the Main Chapel of the Religious Centre at Monash University, Clayton Campus, conveniently located in the centre of Melbourne’s residential population.

Parking in the University car parks is free after 7:00 pm, but please take note of all signs regarding Loading Zones, No Standing and Disabled Parking, these restrictions apply and are enforced.

For directions to the Religious Centre click here