Commemorated on July 3
Fool-for-Christ, Moscow Wonderworker, was born in the Vologda outskirts. In
his youth he toiled at a saltworks, where he was a "water-carrier".
With his heavy work the saint combined strict fasting and prayer. Later he
moved on to Rostov, where he began his exploit of holy fool. He wore chains
with heavy iron crosses and on his head was an heavy iron cap, for which they
called him "Ioann – Big-Cap". In Moscow he went barefoot and almost
naked in even the most severe frost, and he foretold the great misfortunes for
Russia, the Time of Troubles and the incursion of the Polish, saying, that
"in Moscow will be many seen and unseen devils".
He fearlessly spoke
the truth to everyone, regardless of the position they might occupy. Even to
the tsar himself, Boris Godunov, he often said the words: "A clever mind,
thou inquirest God's doing. God long waiteth, painfully indeed it breaketh".
Before death Saint John indicated for himself a grave at the Pokrov church on
Rva, afterwards called the cathedral of Basil/Vasilii the Great. Having readied
himself for the grave, he removed the chains and thrice showered himself with
water. Before his death (+ 1589) the blessed one displayed the gift of healing.
He was venerated at Moscow as a great wonderworker and seer. On 12 June 1672
his relics were uncovered, resting beneathe a crypt in one of the chapels of
the cathedral of Basil the Great. The service and vita-life were preserved in
manuscripts of the XVII Century.
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.