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Perfect FoolsFolly for Christ's Sake in Catholic and Orthodox Spirituality$
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John Saward

Print publication date: 1980

Print ISBN-13: 9780192132307

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780192132307.001.0001

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Folly in the Orthodox East

Folly in the Orthodox East

(p.12) 2 Folly in the Orthodox East
Perfect Fools

John Saward

Oxford University Press

In the Holy Orthodox Churches of the East ‘fool for Christ's sake’ is a hagiographical category like ‘martyr’, ‘virgin’, or ‘confessor’. The salos or yurodivy (the Greek and Russian technical terms for ‘holy fool’) is regarded as one called by God to obey the words of the apostle: ‘if any among you thinks that is he wise in age, let him become a fool that he may become wise’ (1 Cor.3:18). Folly for Christ's sake is an integral part of Orthodox spirituality, consciously celebrated and revered, and the fools are among the most beloved saints of the East. In recognizing holy folly as a true form of sanctity, Eastern Orthodoxy provides a technological schema for the study of this phenomenon in the west. This chapter tells the story of the holy fools of the East, from their first appearance in the deserts of Egypt and Syria to their spiritual invasion of Holy Russia.

Keywords:   Holy Orthodox Churches, Eastern Orthodoxy, holy folly, holy fools, Christianity, Christ, spirituality

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