Climacus in Greek

“A major discovery occurred at Sinai, accidentally, in the wake of yet another war, in 1975, when complete volumes as well as isolated fragments came to light in a storeroom that had been immured and forgotten for at least a century.”[1]

The so-called “New Finds” of St. Catharine’s Monastery included manuscripts and fragments in many different languages, but Greek texts are the most numerous—e.g. lost leaves and fragments of the Codex Sinaiticus, celebrated as the “oldest Bible in the world.”

Among a host of treasures is the New Finds manuscript MΓ 71, a Greek copy of St. John Climacus’ Ladder of Divine Ascent. Climacus was the seventh-century leader of St. Catharine’s Monastery and the author of the Ladder, a spiritual text that has held classic status in Eastern Christianity on a par with such classics as the Rule of St. Benedict in the western church. The New Finds Greek manuscript appears to have been copied in about the seventh century, making it the oldest known witness to the Ladder and the point of departure for any thorough study of Climacus’ text, for which no critical edition yet exists.

CSART is grateful to St. Catharine’s Monastery for making this crucial witness available to its Fellows and Student Scholars as they conduct research on it in pursuit of expanding our knowledge of Climacus and this valuable text.


[1] Georgi R. Parpulov, “The Greek and Latin Manuscripts of Mount Sinai and the Scholarly World,” in Cyril Mango et al., eds., St Catherine’s Monastery at Mount Sinai:
 Its Manuscripts and their Conservation (Saint Catharine Foundation, 2011), 38.


St. John Climacus, Ladder of Divine Ascent in Greek, Sinai New Finds MS MΓ 71 (fol. 3r), ca. 7th century

St. Catharines Monastery. Used by permission.