Blessed Nicholas of Pskov, fool for Christ (1576)

February 28, 2019 Length: 1:37

"A rare fearlessness is a characteristic of fools for Christ. Blessed Nicholas ran through the streets of Pskov, pretending madness, rebuking people for their secret sins and foretelling what would happen to them. When Tsar Ivan the Terrible entered Pskov, the whole town was in fear and dread of the terrible Tsar... The Tsar, learning about this blessed man, who and what he was, visited him in his tiny room. [Ivan was a great lover of external piety.] It was the first week of the Great Fast. Hearing that the Tsar was coming to visit him, Nicholas found a piece of raw meat and, when the Tsar entered his cell, Nicholas bowed and offered the meat to the Tsar. 'Eat, little Ivan, eat!' The terrible Tsar answered him furiously: 'I am a Christian, and do not eat meat in the Fast.' Then the man of God retorted, 'You do that and worse; you feed on men's flesh and blood, forgetting not only the Fast but God as well.' This lecture entered deeply into the heart of Tsar Ivan, and he immediately left Pskov in shame, having intended to wreak great slaughter there." (Prologue)


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