Author ORCID Identifier

Olga Polumysna ORCID: 0000-0002-4289-0588

Valeriy Bulatov ORCID: 0000-0003-0832-2429


The article explores aspects of the image of the holy fool in the context of Orthodox teaching in Eastern Europe. The phenomenon of people who are called holy fools in the thinking and teaching of the Orthodox religious tradition is a controversial issue and still causes conflicting opinions, because the actions of people called holy fools are difficult to understand both for simple observers and for Orthodox researchers. The contrast of opinions in the formation of the holy fool's gestalt is of particular interest to this study. Is the life of holy fools directly connected with sacred life and Orthodox history, or is the officially presented modern stereotype of the holy fool just a fruit of the invention of tradition, filling the niche of Orthodox culture with its centuries-old traditions? The life of people in this category is very specific, sometimes seemingly disgusting to external perception, and sometimes striking with an open challenge “despite faces,” which expresses the essence of some biblical principles. As one of the ministers of the Orthodox Church, the Monk Seraphim of Sarov, put it: “There are thousands of fools for their own sake, but there are only a few foolish people for the Lord’s sake,” that is, there is a difference between foolishness and foolishness. Therefore, a serious and comprehensive analysis of the image of the holy fool, including its key features, will help to form a more complete picture of the phenomenon under study. The scientific work of previous scientists who investigated this problem using methods including generalizations of experience, systematization, and comparative historical analysis are included. The conclusions help to identify aspects of the image of the holy fool in the context of Orthodox teaching in Eastern Europe. The question presented for research has not been sufficiently studied to date, and therefore is a relevant and important area for further thorough research.



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