Blessed John, Fool-for-Christ, Ustiug Wonderworker
Commemorated on May 29
Blessed John, Fool-for-Christ, Ustiug Wonderworker, was born in the village of Pukhovo, near Old Ustiug, of pious parents Savva and Maria. From his youthful years he distinguished himself by a strict life of fasting, on Wednesdays and Fridays he ate nothing, and on the remaining days he ate only bread and water. His parents relocated to the city of Orlets along the River Iug', 40 versts from Ustiug. Left widowed, the saint's mother took monastic tonsure at the Orletsk Trinity monastery. The lad John began with the keeping of silence, and then he asceticised as a fool. Going about the city of Ustiug, he settled in an hut built for him and spent his nights at unceasing prayer. By day however, barefoot and in torn tatters of clothing the whole year long he went about the streets of the city, resting sometimes on a dung heap and bearing much abuse and derision by the people of the city. While still alive the saint had been granted a gift of wonderworking. He died young on 29 May 1494, and was buried near the Uspensky cathedral in the city of Ustiug. Afterwards over his relics was built a church in his name. The Service to Blessed John Ustiuzhsky was written in the XVI Century. In 1554 with the recollections of people who had known him in life his life was compiled, and somewhat afterwards – an eulogy. The holy ascetic was famed as an intercessor during invasions of enemies, and by graced healings of those sick with various maladies.
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.