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Holy Fools in Byzantium and Beyond - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Holy Fools in Byzantium and Beyond

Sergey A. Ivanov


There are saints in Orthodox Christian culture who overturn the conventional concept of sainthood: their conduct is morally dubious. Such saints are called ‘holy fools’. They existed in Byzantium for about 1,000 years, but nearly vanished in modern Greece. In Russia, however, they are deeply worshipped by the believers up till this day. In this book holy foolery is treated as a cultural phenomenon: as a spontaneous response of the religious consciousness to the secularization of the church. The author has repudiated the traditional ‘Orthodox’ paradigm; he discovered a great number of Byzantine ... More

Keywords: holy fool, holy foolery, fool for Christ's sake, foolishness-for-Christ, yurodivy, iurodivyi, saint, hagiography, Byzantium, Old Russian

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2006 Print ISBN-13: 9780199272518
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199272518.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Sergey A. Ivanov, author
Senior Research Associate, Institute of Slavic and Balkan Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences