Ladder of Divine Ascent Orthodox Icon
This subject is an iconographic representation from the ascetical treatise The Ladder of Divine Ascent written by St. John Climacus in the the 7th century. Specifically as applied to monasticism, this book deals with the struggle for virtue in the fight against the passions. The book and the icon draw allegory in this struggle through the image of a ladder which is climbed one rung at a time and which begins in this world and ends in the next. Of course, this icon is dearly loved throughout the Orthodox church as its application is well known to all Christians.
The Russian version seen here is both rare and unusual. The icon is divided into two sections: the top being the Ladder, while the bottom illustrates those who did not make it and are now suffering from the passions which defeated them in thier ascent. A very sobering image which clearly paints in color the bitter fruit of our enslavement to the passions.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner!