May 27 - St. Isidore, Fool-for-Christ and Wonderworker of Rostov

In the far-away land of Prussia, in the fifteenth century, there lived a young man named Isidore. Although he was descended from a rich Catholic family, he converted to Orthodoxy. He set off for the distant land of Russia with a staff in his hand. At length he arrived at Rostov the Great . . .

The Blessed Isidore Tverdislov, Fool-for-Christ and Wonderworker of Rostov

In the far-away land of Prussia, in the fifteenth century, there lived a young man named Isidore. Although he was descended from a rich Catholic family, he converted to Orthodoxy, and left the world, having learned to love the truth with all his heart.

Isidore set off for the distant land of Russia with a staff in his hand. At length he arrived at Rostov the Great. During the day he would wander in rags, humbly enduring the mockery and insults of his estranged and sloppy appearance. At night he retreated to an unfinished hut without a roof, which served as his shelter in summer and winter, snow and rain.

Isidore, like a true fool-for-Christ, received the gift of miracle-working from the Lord for his fervor and self-denial. His prophecies were so accurate that he was later called 'Tverdislov' (reliable in speech). 

Once, there was a merchant on a ship. A storm rose up, and the ship was in danger of sinking to the bottom of the sea. The people began to murmur, saying, "Whose sins are causing us to sink?" They cast lots to see who should be thrown from the ship, and the lots fell on that very merchant, the owner of the ship.

The merchant was holding onto a plank in the middle of the raging sea, almost dying from fear, when Isidore appeared to him and asked, "Do you recognize me?" 

"Servant of God Isidore," the merchant pleaded, "help me."

The saint then returned him to the ship. His companions were frightened at first when they saw the merchant. Then, having come to their senses, they rejoiced for the miracle that had happened.

Isidore had ordered the merchant not to speak of what had happened. When the merchant met Isidore later in the street,  he simply bowed reverently to the one who had saved him, and he told everyone else that he had been saved by divine power.

Another time, the young prince Sava Bolensky got married. The fool-for-Christ suddenly came into the feast, put 
a hat woven from flowers and grass on his head, and said: 

"Here is your bishop's hat."

Sava was bewildered. But it really turned out that instead of being married for a long time, he received the monastic tonsure and later became the archbishop of Rostov. 

See what wonders the saint performed!

The saint departed to God prayerfully in his hut. He showed the people another miracle at the moment of his death, when an extraordinary fragrance spread from the saint's hut.

The people, who up till then had mocked him, gathered near the hut, finally realizing how pure and immaculate the life of St. Isidore was. They buried the saint in that very place, and above his grave they built a church in honor of the Ascension. Many miracles continued to come from his grave.

The twenty-seventh of May is the feast day of the blessed Isidore Tverdislov, Fool-for-Christ.

MORE:Saints
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