This icon of St. Basil, the Fool-for-Christ, is from the Cathedral of the Annunciation in Sol’vychegodsk, Russia. St. Basil the Blessed was born a.d. 1468-9 in Yelokovo, near Moscow. His family was poor but pious serfs. St. Basil went to work as an apprentice shoemaker, but then moved to Moscow and lived the extremely difficult life of a “yurodivy,” or Fool-for-Christ, which even renounces normal reason in ardent pursuit of Christ before all things, and thus is considered foolishness to men.
Going naked in the streets, he upset vendors’ goods that were later learned harmful. He was clairvoyant and saw the inner hearts of men, could see the future, and prophesied to those who would listen. St. Basil spent his nights outdoors on the porch of a church. When the Crimean Khan Makhmet-Guirey invaded Moscow in a.d. 1521, St. Basil’s prayers before the Vladimir Icon of the Theotokos turned the khan away with a fearful vision. He had already reached the suburbs of the city, and then soon left the Russian lands entirely. St. Basil corrected Tsar Ivan the Terrible often, but was loved by him. St. Basil died at age 88 in a.d. 1552.