St Basil the Blessed and Naked

St Basil the Blessed

Having a patron for organisations and causes is pretty common. Today I celebrate one of the the patrons of my religion and spirituality blog The Holy Irritant. Along with the wonderful Christina the Astonishing, Virgin I have adopted the Russian, St Basil the Blessed. His sacred memory and feast is celebrated on 2nd August.

Now as you can see from this icon, Basil wasn’t one of the fashion dandies of the East. Long before Mark Twain penned his quotable quote about cloths making the man and naked people having little or no influence in society Basil was streaking around the countryside rebuking Ivan the Terrible.

Basil comes out of the noble tradition of the Holy Fools. In contemporary terms he could easily be described as a Court Jester. He was not into timid social reforms of petitions and novenas. Instead he was known to destroy the merchandise of dishonest tradesmen and hurl stones at the houses of the wealthy. It seems he made the cleaning of the Temple a model for daily life.

Adopting Basil’s practices may restore a bit more theatrical gravitas to the Church’s mission and would no doubt make for interesting videos. So, if you happen to see me unclad and upturning the tables at a casino you know I am only celebrating the saintly practice of an Eastern holy man.

More reading
St Basil’s Cathedral

An architectural tour of St Basil’s Cathedral

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