Climacus Conference

The Climacus Conference is a clas­sical Christian intel­lectual/spiri­tual event. See website for longer description.

The Climacus Conference 2014 will seek to def­end bea­uty. Thus, we will first att­empt to def­ine bea­uty, parti­cularly on philo­sophical grounds. After all, we dis­cern bea­uty in phys­ical obj­ects and abstr­act ideas, in nat­ure and art, in ani­mals and things, and in people, quali­ties, and act­ions. What is this prop­erty of bea­uty pres­ent in all of these things? What is the status of bea­uty as an ult­imate value? Next we will con­sider the aesth­etics of some par­ticular beau­tiful things—such as church buil­dings, poems, icons, paint­ings, and music. Thirdly, we will con­sider some of the intel­lectual disci­plines—phi­lo­sophy, theo­logy, litera­ture, et al.—and their inter­action with aesth­etics. Finally, we will con­sider the pra­ctice of aesth­etics—the redem­ptive and salvific role of bea­uty in our lives.

Mission: The Climacus Conference is an Ortho­dox Chris­tian intel­lectual/spiri­tual event feat­uring scho­lars and voices across the fields of Theo­logy, Philo­sophy, Clas­sical Educa­tion, Litera­ture, and Hist­ory/Poli­tics. It is unique in that it prov­ides an oppor­tunity for atten­dees to be enriched by think­ing well across disci­plines. It seeks to deve­lop the life of the mind through scho­larly enga­gement with the clas­sic liberal arts, but approa­ches such an endea­vor through the nous, the mind of the heart, enab­ling our asce­nsion “of the lad­der” (κλίμακος/climacus), as insp­ired by St. John Clim­acus and his Lad­der of Div­ine Asc­ent. People from all back­grounds, perspec­tives, and tradi­tions are welcome.

[12/24/18]   The 10th Anniversary Climacus Conference, Feb. 21-22, 2020. Check out the updated website for some new information! Plus, all past conferences now appear there!

[04/24/18]   Mar. 1-2, 2019.

Fourth Sunday Of Lent | St. John Climacus :: IOCC

Preparations for The Climacus Conference 2019 are heating up! In honor of the Fourth Sunday of Great Lent tomorrow--the Sunday of St. John Climacus--I'd like to share a little news about the upcoming 2019 conference, followed by a brief reflection on St. John Climacus for our Lenten journey.

The Climacus Conference 2019 will be unique and quite different from past conferences. I cannot tell you how excited I am to introduce an entirely new and improved format and structure! It will be unlike anything we have experienced thus far. Suffice to say, I think it will be the best conference yet! I do not want to reveal the full news yet, so look for details to follow!

From an essay called "The Poetics of Resurrection" by Donald Sheehan:

"At the end of 2003, I visited Mt. Athos with my two sons and a friend. There the deputy abbot of Vatopaidi Monastery, Fr. Arsenios, spoke to us about St. John Climacus' book, The Ladder of Divine Ascent, especially emphasizing Step 7, entitled 'On Joy-Making Mourning.' Father said that everything one needs for salvation in Christ can be found in this section of The Ladder. There, St. John says: 'When I consider the actual nature of compunction, I am amazed at how that which is called mourning and grief should contain joy and gladness interwoven within it, like honey in the comb... which, like a child, at once both whimpers to itself and shouts happily' (7:49, 54).

Called katanyxis in the Philokalia, this joy-making mourning occurs in us when we (as the glossary of the Philokalia puts it) become 'conscious of [our] own sinfulness and [simultaneously] of the forgiveness extended to [us] by God' (IV:428). Just as mourning possesses joy, so, too, in Psalm 118's final line: the cry becomes deepest comprehension as the speaker sees that he has 'gone astray like a lost sheep' and yet he has 'never forgotten thy commandments' (Ps. 118:176)."

Now that we've read these lovely words by Sheehan, here is a link to a nice little reflection about tomorrow's St. John Climacus Sunday, followed by the Troparion and Kontakion:

4th Sunday of Great Lent: St John Climacus (of the Ladder) - Troparion & Kontakion

Troparion — Tone 1
Dweller of the desert and angel in the body, / you were shown to be a wonder-worker, our God-bearing Father John. / You received heavenly gifts through fasting, vigil, and prayer: / healing the sick and the souls of those drawn to you by faith. / Glory to Him who gave you strength! / Glory to Him who granted you a crown! / Glory to Him who through you grants healing to all!

Kontakion — Tone 4
The Lord truly set you on the heights of abstinence, / to be a guiding star, showing the way to the universe, / O our Father and Teacher John.

May good things such as prayer, sacrifice, love, silence, the Psalms, liturgy, fasting, St. John, and many more-- help us ascend the ladder this Lent.

David M. Wright This Sunday, the fourth in our pilgrimage toward Christ’s Resurrection, the Church in its wisdom holds up as an example of asceticism a great saint whose life and writings can inspire those who honor him.

Climacus Conference 2017 Video

The official Climacus Conference 2017 video, made by photographer and speaker Molly Sabourin, and featuring her beautiful photos of the conference!

The Climacus Conference 2017 | Ancient Faith Ministries

The Climacus Conference 2017 Lectures are now available on Ancient Faith Radio! So head click over there and revisit your favorite lecture, or hear one for the first time! Encountering God

[03/02/17]   Now that I have recovered, thank you to everyone who traveled, spoke, shared, read, cried, contemplated, discovered, and ascended at the sixth biennial Climacus Conference 2017!

It was quite possibly the best Climacus Conference to date, with the highest level of attendance.

A special thank you to our speakers and to our vendors/organizations, Eighth Day Books, Ancient Faith Radio, Hexaemeron, etc., as well as to Jennifer Wright and the food preparation team (for the wonderful and creative cuisine), to our teens for managing so many little ones, and to my Assistant Director, Rachel Rubino.

Also, be sure to check out ( spectacular film, Becoming Truly Human, which was so well received in our Friday night film screening, and which will be officially released in the coming weeks.

Note: all the Climacus Conference 2017 lectures will be posted on Ancient Faith Radio ( in the coming days.

Please stay in touch here. Post your ongoing thoughts and reflections as we move forward in grace, understanding, and transformation.

God bless,

David M. Wright
Conference Founder and Director

The conference is in full swing.

Registration is now open! We've offically kicked off the Climacus Conference!

[02/24/17]   The jumpy is being set up as we speak! Bring your children to the conference and let them enjoy this beautiful weather!

No Title

We're pleased to have Sam Granger present during our Pray-Think breakout session on Saturday. Listen in the link provided to hear Sam presenting a paper titled "On Being Beautiful: How All Judgments are Aesthetic Judgments".

[02/18/17]   Check out Fr. Stephen Freeman in the speaker spotlight! He's one of our Plenary Speakers... who is going to be MOST ILL! Can't wait to visit with you Father!

The Climacus Conference After Party will be held on Sat. evening around 7 in the Party (back) Room Loui Loui's Authentic Detroit Style Pizza restaurant! The vibe and food there is excellent, and even more so because it's our chance to exhale and be together! Any and all speakers and attendees should join us for this bodacious conference tradition. It's gonna be LIT! :)

Fr. Alexis Kouri opens the conference this year with a talk titled: "Positioning for the Encounter: Preparing Ourselves to Experience God Everywhere and Always". You can view the full speaker schedule at

Have you registered yet? Eleven premier speakers in one weekend. Come Encounter God with us. Pray. Think. Deny. Ascend.

The Way I See It: Love

Enjoy this blog post about love from Molly Sabourin.

[02/13/17]   Check out Molly Sabourin on the Speaker Spotlight! Really excited to see and hear my very good friend at the conference! She is a most awesome person (and speaker). :)

Return from Exile (The Sunday of the Prodigal Son) | Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese

In honor of the Sunday of the Prodigal Son, here is an excerpt from "Great Lent" by Alexander Schmemann. The Following is an excerpt from Great Lent, by Alexander SchmemannFrom Chapter 2: Preparation for Lent On the third Sunday of preparation for Lent, we hear the parable of the Prodigal Son (LK. 15:11-32). Together with the hymns on this day, the parable reveals to us the time of repentance as man's…

Father Rodney - Image Journal

Enjoy the poetry of Dr. Richard Pierce published by Image Magazine.
Pray. Think. Deny. Ascend. In the ancient Greek, “liturgy” means “work done for the people.” Someone calls around 9:30, as he’s brushing his teeth for bed. An Orthodox in a nursing home has passed in McKeesport, and the priest is out of town. Up since five, he drives the hour north, prays for the soul, anoints the body. Earli...

The Sin of Democracy | Glory to God for All Things “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my ... Read More →

Speaker Spotlight!

Check out David Bradshaw in the speaker spotlight!
David is a tremendous scholar and person; we are sooooo lucky he'll be speaking again, his third (or fourth) Climacus Conference! Artwork by Nathan A. Jacobs

You can listen to our plenary speaker Fr. Stephen Freeman both days of the Climacus Conference this year.

The Presentation Of Our Lord - A Lamp for Today | Ancient Faith Ministries

A blessed Holy Feast! The Presentation of Our Lord. Here is a 15-minute explanation of the feast by Dr. Edith M. Humphrey, professor of Theology, et al, at Pittsburgh Theo. Sem.:

Photos from Climacus Conference's post

Check out Nathan A. Jacobs on the Speaker Spotlight!

I am super stoked to have this artist and filmmaker at the Climacus Conference!

[01/26/17]   "For every work [or act] of creation is threefold, an earthly trinity to match the heavenly.
First, [not in time, but merely in order of enumeration] there is the Creative Idea, passionless, timeless, beholding the whole work complete at once, the end in the beginning: and this is the image of the Father.
Second, there is the Creative Energy [or Activity] begotten of that idea, working in time from the beginning to the end, with sweat and passion, being incarnate in the bonds of matter: and this is the image of the Word.
Third, there is the Creative Power, the meaning of the work and its response in the lively soul: and this is the image of the indwelling Spirit.
And these three are one, each equally in itself the whole work, whereof none can exist without the other: and this is the image of the Trinity.

- The Mind of the Maker, pp. 37-38, Dorothy L. Sayers

Pray. Think. Deny. Ascend.

Check out this interview with filmmaker, Nathan Jacobs, in the latest issue of "The Word" Magazine. We have a special screening of his film, "Becoming Truly Human" Friday evening of the Climacus Conference!

Ariane Trifunovic Montemuro has an inspiring new book out titled "I Shall Remember Thy Holy Name from Generation to Generation" about a woman's journey to discovering her ancestral Christian faith. Ariane's book inspired the creation of a blog: Her Saint story in the book prompted people to dialogue and share their own personal miracle stories of the Saints of the Orthodox Christian Faith. You can find Ariane at the Climacus conference this year, she speaks Saturday afternoon.

In Remembrance of Our Righteous Ancestors - 22nd Annual Ancient Christianity and African-American Conference | Ancient Faith Ministries

Do you want to learn more about Fr. Moses Berry? Here's a great talk he gave a couple of years ago published by Ancient Faith Radio. We're pleased to have Fr. Moses as one of our Plenary speakers for the 2017 Climacus Conference. You can hear him in person Saturday morning of this year's conference. Pray. Think. Deny. Ascend. Fr. Moses Berry

Holy St. John pray for us.

Breckinridge Inn - Louisville, KY

The Breckinridge Hotel is once again the official hotel for the conference. They have reserved a special rate $79/night for those traveling in for the Climacus Conference.
Just call and reserve, mentioning that you're here for the Climacus Conference.

Meet the Team

Meet the new Assistant Director of the Climacus Conference, Rachel Rubino. I'm super excited about her leadership and contribution to the conference! Meet the newest member of our team! Rachel Rubino, Assistant Director

A Sonnet for Epiphany

A sonnet for Theophany (Epiphany), Jan. 6. The Feast of the Epiphany falls on the 6th of January and I am posting this sonnet of mine as a little extra in addition to the extracts from my Advent anthology Waiting on the Word which I have be…

[01/01/17]   SALT OF SODOM
Richard Pierce

Ancient salt burned
in the Temple incense,

but also consumed. Mined, gathered
from flats or evaporated Dead Sea brine—

theories vary. So strong,
hands were washed after meals

because a careless touch to the eye
could cause blindness.

Lord, make us this
pungent, that others

might be thrown down
blind, lifted up at the sight of love,

like Saul or the three You blessed
into terror when You transfigured.

Do not toss us aside
and wash your hands.

Change us.
Flavor us with danger.

- forthcoming in Image

Speaker Spotlight!

Check out our current Speaker Spotlight! Richard Pierce, poet. JESUS PRAYER Richard Pierce Like convicts circling a razored yard, let my fingers, mind, soul, and lips walk the chotki’s knotted path so that exercised and shackled my mind may find my heart and...

Climacus Conference

Registration now open! Climacus Conference

Climacus Conference

The Climacus Conference 2017 website is updated! Climacus Conference

Climacus Conference

[12/01/15]   In our recent move to a biennial model, the 6th Climacus Conference will take place in early 2017. We are excited for what is shaping up to be a fantastic conference. Look for periodic information throughout the year in 2016. Pray. Think. Deny. Ascend!

Coming to the wood's edge
on my Sunday morning walk,
I stand resting a moment beside
a ragged half-dead wild plum
in bloom, its perfume
a moment enclosing me,
and standing side by side
with the old broken blooming tree,
I almost understand,
I almost recognize as a friend
the great impertinence of beauty
that comes even to the dying,
even to the fallen, without reason
sweetening the air.

—Wendell Berry, Sabbath Poems, 1987.I (excerpt)

Rock and Sand - Orthodoxy and Reformed Theology - Part 2 - Patristic Nectar Films | Ancient...

Father Josiah Trenham:

The first reference to a person being “filled with the Holy Spirit” in the Bible is not Saint Paul writing to the Ephesians when he says don’t get drunk with wine but be filled with the Holy Spirit. The first reference is to an artisan named Bezalel who was inspired by the Holy Spirit to make the sacred hangings, and sacred vessels, the censors, the wall hangings of the temple. This shows you God’s commitment to send his Holy Spirit to effect beauty. The Church is a beacon of light and beauty. To walk into a church, Christian people have always built the most beautiful buildings as a means of vivifying their people, of giving them a vision past the Earth, to think about the beauties of Heaven and yearn for that. And believe me when you go into an ugly building with absolutely no Christian art, it has an effect. It binds you to the Earth, and it makes you sad.

(From a discussion with Kevin Allen, "Orthodoxy and Reformed Theology, Part 2", at just after the 56-minute mark) In part 2 of his interview with Fr. Josiah Trenham, Kevin Allen gets specific on some of the modern day expressions of Reformed teaching and how it differs from the Orthodox Church. Fr. Josiah authored the book Rock and Sand: An Orthodox Appraisal of the Protestant Reformers and Their Theology. - An…

David B. Hart on Universal Salvation and Human Freedom

David Bentley Hart:

“Because God is not a finite object over against you as a subject, you cannot simply turn away towards ‘something else.'; He is the ground and end of all desire and knowledge as such, the Good in itself. You cannot choose or not choose God the way you would choose or not choose a cup of coffee. You desire anything because of your original desire for God as the transcendental Good and Beautiful; you know anything because of your original intellectual appetite for God as the transcendental Truth as such. Even in desiring to flee God, you are desiring God as the ‘good end’ you seek in godlessness. He is inescapable because all being, goodness, unity, truth, and beauty simply are God in their transcendent truth, and because a rational nature is nothing but an infinite dynamic orientation towards that transcendent end. The natural will, as Maximus says, can will only God. Don’t think of God as a candidate in a political race, whom you could simply reject and be done with; he is the original and final act of your every discrete act of desire. And, in the ages, since God is all and there is literally nothing beyond him, the natural will is always seeking its natural supernatural end. Simply said, God is not an object of desire; he is the end that makes desire.” Last week Dr. David B. Hart visited Eclectic Orthodoxy and engaged in instructive conversation with folks on the "Readings in Universalism" page. This morning I skimmed through the comments thread ...

Want your school to be the top-listed School/college in Louisville?

Click here to claim your Sponsored Listing.

Videos (show all)

Climacus Conference 2017 Video




3701 Saint Michael Church Dr
Louisville, KY
Other Louisville schools & colleges (show all)
BRYCC Lending Library and Tool Archive BRYCC Lending Library and Tool Archive
825 S Floyd St
Louisville, 40203

Members have access to Resources and Skill Share

Chapel Hill UCC Chapel Hill UCC
2307 Embassy Ln
Louisville, 40216

Little People Academy Little People Academy
8040 New La Grange Rd
Louisville, 40222

Little People Academy is a 24 hour 7 day a week child care center that cares for ages 6 weeks to 6 years of age.

J. Graham Brown School J. Graham Brown School
546 S 1st St
Louisville, 40202

J. Graham Brown School (Brown) is the only Jefferson County Public School (JCPS) with elementary, middle, and high school students in the same building. Brown School was founded by Martha R. Ellison in 1972 and was originally located in the Brown Hotel.

Caring Hearts Childcare Caring Hearts Childcare
5702 Revere Dr
Louisville, 40218

Where Caring starts in the Heart

Cheryl's In home Childcare Cheryl's In home Childcare
Ashbrooke Gardens
Louisville, 40229

Dedicated to providing a safe “home away from home” environment for the developmental growth of every child.

JCTC Foundation Inc. JCTC Foundation Inc.
109 E Broadway
Louisville, 40202

The Jefferson Community and Technical College Foundation in Kentucky supports JCTC through fund-raising and advocacy.

Brown Wilson Enterprises, Inc. Brown Wilson Enterprises, Inc.
2312 S Preston St Unit 17671
Louisville, 40217

BWE is a consulting firm that specializes in leadership development, financial management, and image services.

Tutor Doctor Louisville Tutor Doctor Louisville
Louisville, 40299

We provide one-on-one, in-home, professional tutoring. We provide tutors for students of all ages and in all subject areas.

Shellhamer Ultra Endurance Coaching Shellhamer Ultra Endurance Coaching
311 Marengo Dr
Louisville, 40243

Shellhamer Ultra Endurance Coaching provides athletes the tools they need to maximize their potential at the 50 and 100 mile ultramarathon distance. Ultramarathon, Ultra Marathon, Endurance Coaching.

Ability 2 GROW Ability 2 GROW
109 E Broadway
Louisville, 40202

Helping international students ineligible for financial aid access higher education at Jefferson Community and Technical College

Teeple Holistic Teeple Holistic
7410 New LaGrange Rd, Suite 207
Louisville, 40222

Natural Health through Ayurveda & Functional Medicine Nutrition. Specializing in Wellness Plans for Digestive Disorders, Healthy Hormones, and Autoimmune Disease.