After a devastating campaign against Novgorod, Tsar Ivan moved in February 1570 against the city of Pskov, suspecting its inhabitants of treason. As the Pskov Chronicler relates, "the Tsar came ... with great fierceness, like a roaring lion, to tear apart innocent people and to shed much blood." On the first Saturday of [[Great Lent]], the whole city prayed to be delivered from the wrath of Tsar Ivan. After hearing the peal of the [[Bells|bell]] for [[Matins]] in Pskov, Ivan's heart softened when he read the inscription on the fifteenth century wonderworking Liubyatov [[Icon]] of the Mother of God of Tenderness[http://www.antiochian.org/node/18823] in the Monastery of St. Nicholas at Lubyatov. "Be tender of heart," he said to his soldiers. "Blunt your swords upon the stones, and let there be an end to killing."
As the Tsar entered the city, all the inhabitants of Pskov came out upon the streets where each family knelt at the gate of their house, bearing [[bread and salt]] to the meet him. On one of the streets the Blessed Nicholas ran toward Tsar Ivan astride a stick as though riding a horse, and cried out: "Ivanushko, Ivanushko, eat our bread and salt, and not Christian blood." The Tsar gave orders to capture the holy fool, but he disappeared.
Though he had forbidden his men to kill, Tsar Ivan still intended to sack the city. As the Tsar attended a [[Molieben]] at the [[Trinity Cathedral (Pskov, Russia)|Trinity cathedral]] and venerated the [[relics]] of holy Prince [[Vsevolod of Pskov|Vsevolod-Gabriel]], he expressed his wish to receive the blessing of the holy fool Nicholas. St. Nicholas instructed the Tsar, "by many terrible sayings," to stop the killing and not to plunder the holy [[church]]es of God. But, not heeding the holy saint, Ivan gave orders to remove the bell from the Trinity cathedral. Then, as St. Nicholas prophesied, the Tsar's finest horse fell dead.