Aug 2 - “St. Basil the Blessed of Moscow” © icon by Br. Robert Lentz, OFM. Happy Feast Day St. Basil!
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Saint Basil the Blessed was born a serf in the middle of the fifteenth century. As a young man he became an apprentice to a cobbler, but by the time he was 16 he had embraced the life of a fool for Christ. He went around naked in the streets of Moscow, weighed down with heavy chains. He died when he was 88 years old, having spent over seventy years as a holy fool.
Basil had no fear of Ivan the Terrible and did not hesitate to scold him if he daydreamed during church services. He rebuked the tsar for his violent behavior toward the innocent and he shamed wealthy Muscovites for their miserliness. He spent his days among beggars and cripples, and his nights in prayer on the porches of churches. His hagiography is filled with miracles that point to the wisdom he acquired through prayer and asceticism. When he died, Ivan the Terrible acted as his pallbearer. He is buried in the many-domed cathedral in Moscow that bears his name.
His nakedness was an important part of his life as a fool. He was shown naked in the first icons painted after his death. In time, however, the memory of his nakedness became uncomfortable for pious people, and he was given a small loincloth. In this icon he is shown naked once again, making us uncomfortable, perhaps--as he did the complacent people of his own day.
His feast is August 2.https://www.trinitystores.com/artwork/st-basil-blessed-moscow