St. Basil Cathedral in Moscow, across from the Kremlin, was named after St. Basil the Blessed. He was a 16th century Christian who, by his chosen life style, came to be known as a Holy Fool.
Tradition tells us that he lived on the streets of Moscow naked and free of all possessions. Like the Son of Man he had no place to lay his head, and like the birds of the air, and the lilies of the field he depended on God for his moment by moment existence. His example and preaching led Christians to more closely evaluate their lives in light of the Lord’s teachings.
In one of the most famous episodes of his life he warned Tsar Ivan the Terrible that the cruelty of his conquests would lead him to hell; and one year during Lent when all of Russia ate only a vegetarian diet he presented Ivan with a slab of beef asking him: why abstain from meat when you kill men?
It is said that Ivan feared, respected and protected Basil so much that he was a pall-bearer at Basil’s funeral. A chapel was built over his grave which later became the great Cathedral of St. Basil that still stands in Moscow. (1 Corinthians 4:10)
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