August 10: Blessed Lavrentii, Fool-for-Christ

Blessed Lavrentii, Fool-for-Christ lived at the beginning of the 16th Century an half-verst [see Definitions, right] from old Kaluga near a forest church in honour of the Nativity of Christ, set upon an high hill.

A long underground entrance led from Lavrentii's dwelling to the church, where he heard Divine-services. He lived also at the home of the Kaluzhsk prince Simeon Ioannovich.

Lavrentii went barefoot both winter and summer, in a shirt and sheepskin coat.

When the Crimean Tatars fell upon Kaluga in May 1512, Lavrentii, then in the home of the prince, suddenly shouted: "Give me my sharp axe, for the curs fall upon prince Simeon and it is necessary to defend him!" Saying this, he seized the axe and left. Lavrentii inspired and encouraged the soldiers, and in that very hour they defeated the enemy. He is depicted in icons with an axe in his right hand, set upon a long axe-handle.

Prince Simeon (+1518) built in his memory a monastery on the place of the saint's deeds.

Lavrentii died on 10 August 1515 (although he is sometimes commemorated on 8 July).

Lavrentii was glorified in the second half of the 16th Century. Tsar Ivan the Terrible, in a gramota [see Definitions, right] of donation to the monastery (1565), wrote: "Monastery of the Nativity of Christ, wherein lies Lavrentii, Fool-for-Christ."

The first posthumous miracle is recorded under the year 1621 -- the healing of the paralysed boyar [see Definitions, right] Kologrivov, who became well after doing a moleiben [see Definitions, right] to the saint.

Notes for this article:




Crimean Tatars

Tsar Ivan the Terrible


(Russian) a unit of length equal to 1.067 kilometres (0.6629 miles)

(Russian) a deed (for land).

a member of an old order of Russian nobility, ranking immediately below the princes

a service of thanksgiving