Difference between revisions of "Fool-for-Christ"

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A saint who has the title Fool-for-Christ is one who is known for his apparent, yet holy, insanity. This title in Russian is Yurodivyi.

Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. (1 Corinthians 3:18-19 KJV)
One form of the ascetic Christian life is called foolishness for the sake of Christ. The fool-for-Christ set for himself the task of battling within himself the root of all sin, pride. In order to accomplish this he took on an unusual style of life, appearing as someone bereft of his mental faculties, thus bringing upon himself the ridicule of others. In addition he exposed the evil in the world through metaphorical and symbolic words and actions. He took this ascetic endeavor upon himself in order to humble himself and to also more effectively influence others, since most people respond to the usual ordinary sermon with indifference. The spiritual feat of foolishness for Christ was especially widespread in Russia. --(Excerpted from The Law of God, Holy Trinity Monastery, Jordanville, NY: 1993)

Saint Andrew of Constantinople is considered to be the first such saint, although Saint Basil of Moscow is also widely known.

List of Holy Fools-for-Christ

A list of some of the Fools-for-Christ's sake:

Orthodox Psychotherapy: Further Reading

  • Fr. Dumitru Staniloae. Prayer and Holiness. Fairacres Publications, September 1982. ISBN 0 7283 0093 1
Dr Donald Blais is an Orthodox Christian Russian-styled monk-in-the-world (monach ou miru), (OCA), and a Penobscot-Metis. His study on Holy Madness is available online at the National Library of Canada.
  • Larche, Jean-Claude. Healing Mental Illness: The Experience of the First Centuries of the Christian East.
French theologian and Doctor of Philosophy Jean-Claude Larche's study of modern psychiatry with respect to studying the Orthodox view of 'madness', drawing on patristic and hagiographical literature of the I-XIV centuries, recounting the experience of healing mental illness by holy fathers, who, unlike psychiatrists, examined the person, took into account the totality of the human being (spirit, soul, and body). Pays special attention to "Fools for Christ's sake" - Yurodstvo.

See also

External Links and Sources