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

He was born to serfs in December of 1468 or 1469 in Yelokhovo, near Moscowmarker (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.

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. He is buried in St. Basil's Cathedralmarker in Moscow, which was commissioned by Ivan and is named after the saint. Basil was formally canonised around 1580. His feast day is celebrated on August 2 (August 15, N.S.).


  • Attwater, Donald and Catherine Rachel John. The Penguin Dictionary of Saints. 3rd edition. New York: Penguin Books, 1993. ISBN 0140513124.

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