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Liber ad Pastorem




Liber ad Pastorem

Sermo ad Pastorem

Name of the Portuguese translation

Livro do Pastor

Sermom que fala do pastor

Sermão do Pastor (pt.026)


São João Clímaco or João, o Escolástico/Sinaíta (probably Syria, séc. VI – Monte Sinai, early VII century).


Latin (the original is Greek)


Treaty addressed to the abbot of Raitu, but destined to the superiors of the monasteries in which they are compared to a shepherd who seeks to guide his sheep better. The pastor is thus a "shepherd of monks," with various duties through which he must lead the priests to a purer life (Martins, 1962a: 63-67). It complements the work Escada Celestial, destined to the monks (Martins, 1962a: 62).


The original text is from the sixth or seventh century. The Latin translation from which eventually descends the Portuguese translation is from about 1300. The existing copy in Portugal, according to Martins (1961: 403), will have appeared around 1409.


The original text was possibly written at Mount Sinai. Following the thought of Martins (1962a: 62), the Latin translation of which can descend the Portuguese translation was probably carried out by Brother Angelo Clareno. This means it probably was written in Greece (during this monk’s exile) (See Almeida, 2005: 133).

Extant testimonies

The Livro do Pastor is associated with the work Escada Celestial, emerging, according to Martins (1962a: 62), as a continuation of the same, although forming a "separable and autonomous whole." From the Escada Celestial descend manuscripts written in various languages (Greek, Syrian, Arabic, Armenian, etc.), including Latin. The oldest complete Latin translation that is known dates from about 1300 and was made by a Franciscan friar named Ângelo Clareno. This translation has been kept in 51 manuscripts.

The existing Latin text in Portugal has, in addition to the Escada Celestial, the Livro do Pastor and is kept in the Codex Alcobacense CCLXI / 387. It contains the version of Ângelo Clareno, which was copied in Alcobaça about 1409 by Frei Martinho (Martins 1956: 274; Martins, 1962a: 62). According to Martins (1961: 407; 1962b: 181), similarities between the text of this codex and the Portuguese translation in the Codex Alcobacense 213 allow to think that the latter may derive from the Latin text, although it is not certain that this is its origin. In fact, some think that the Portuguese translation may have been made not from the Latin text, but from an Italian version of the same text (Almeida, 2005: 133 Alkimim, 2007: 19 n.30; 24-29).



CLIMACVS, Joannes (1864). Liber ad Pastorem. In: MIGNE, J. P. (org.). Patrologiae Graecae. Paris: J.-P. Migne Éd., Vol. 88, 1165-1210.

ALKIMIM, Ilma Magalhães (2007) Escada Celestial, de João Clímaco (Cód. Alc. 213): edição e estudo. Dissertação de Mestrado. Belo Horizonte: Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais.

ALMEIDA, Ana Cristina Rui (2005), “...E dali em diante soube perfeitamente falar o grego...” – um episódio na vida de Ângelo Clareno. MÁTHESIS 14, 129-136.

MARTINS, M. (1956) A Biblioteca de Alcobaça e o seu fundo de livros espirituais. In Estudos de Literatura Medieval. Braga: Livraria Cruz.

MARTINS, M. (1961), A Escada Celestial em medievo-português. Brotéria 62.4, 402-415.

MARTINS, M. (1962a), O Livro do Pastor, Brotéria 75, 62-68.

MARTINS, M. (1962b) Vida de S. João do Monte Sinai por Daniel de Raitu. Brotéria 74.2, 179-186.

PLATHOW, M. (1992), Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexicon. Verlag Traugott Bautz, Band III , s.v. “Johannes Klimakus”.