Basil Fool for Christ

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Basil the Blessed
Vasily blazh.jpg
Icon of St. Basil the Blessed
(Bas relief, St. Basil's Cathedral, Moscow)
Fool for Christ and Wonderworker
BornDecember c. 1469
Died2 August 1552 or 1557
Venerated inEastern Orthodox Church
Canonized2 August 1588, Moscow by Patriarch Job of Moscow
Major shrineSaint Basil's Cathedral, Moscow
Feast2 August (15 August N.S.)
AttributesDressed in rags, or completely naked

Basil the Blessed (known also as Basil, fool for Christ; Basil, Wonderworker of Moscow; or Blessed Basil of Moscow, fool for Christ Russian: Василий Блаженный, Vasily Blazhenny) is a Russian Orthodox saint of the type known as yurodivy or "holy fool".


The Intercession Cathedral in Moscow is named after the saint.

He was born to serfs in December 1468 at the portico of the Epiphany Cathedral at Yelokhovo (now in Moscow).[1] His father was named Jacob and his mother Anna.

Originally an apprentice shoemaker, he went to Moscow when he was sixteen. There he helped those who were ashamed to ask for alms, but were in need of help. He adopted an eccentric lifestyle of shoplifting and giving to the poor to shame the miserly and help those in need. He went naked and weighed himself down with chains. He rebuked Ivan the Terrible for not paying attention in church. Basil was said to have the gift of prophesy.[1]

When he died on August 2, 1552 or 1557, St. Macarius, Metropolitan of Moscow, served his funeral with many clergy. He is buried in St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow, which was commissioned by Ivan for commemoration of his conquest of Kazan' and was named for the saint later. Basil was formally canonised in 1588.[1] His feast day is celebrated on August 2 (August 15, N.S.).

See also[edit]


General sources[edit]

  • Attwater, Donald and Catherine Rachel John. The Penguin Dictionary of Saints. 3rd edition. New York: Penguin Books, 1993. ISBN 0-14-051312-4.

External links[edit]