BASEES Annual Conference 2022

Iurodivye in fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Muscovy

Fri8  Apr02:40pm(20 mins)
Games Room


Sofia Simoes Coelho


There is more evidence for holy fools in fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Muscovy than ever before. Studies of iurodstvo, however, have traditionally analysed the phenomenon from its origins in Byzantium, or even early Christianity, up to the seventeenth century and beyond, thereby blurring its characteristics across periods, or seeing an artificial continuity and logic in its development. By contrast, this paper will focus on a limited time frame, and explore specificities in the fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Muscovite context. Casting a wide net around case-study areas, it will look sideways at the cults of other non-holy-fool saints, and try to understand veneration and canonisation mechanisms, as well as the relative importance of iurodivye in regional ecclesiastical landscapes.