Basil Fool for Christ

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Saint Basil
Vasily blazh.jpg
Icon of St. Basil the Blessed
(Bas relief, St. Basil's Cathedral, Moscow)
Blessed, Fool for Christ
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 for Christ".

He was born to serfs in December 1468 or 1469 in Yelokhovo, near Moscow (now in Moscow). His father was named Jacob and his mother Anna. According to tradition, he was born on the portico of the local church. He is thought to have died in 1552.

The Intercession Cathedral in Moscow is named after the saint.

Originally an apprentice shoemaker in Moscow, 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, and for his violent behaviour towards the innocent.

When he died on August 2, 1552 or 1557, St. Macarius, Metropolitan of Moscow, served his funeral with many clergy. Ivan the Terrible himself acted as pallbearer and carried his coffin to the cemetery.[citation needed] He is buried in St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow, which was commissioned by Ivan for commemoration of his conquest of Kazan' and was dubbed after the saint later. Basil was formally canonised around 1580. His feast day is celebrated on August 2 (August 15, N.S.).

See also[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]