Blessed Laurence the Fool-For-Christ at Kaluga

Blessed Laurence, Fool-for-Christ and Kaluga Wonderworker, lived at the beginning of the sixteenth century at the distance of half a verst from old Kaluga near a forest church in honor of the Nativity of Christ, set upon a high hill.

There was a long underground entrance from his dwelling to the church, where he attended services. He lived also at the home of the Kaluga prince Simeon Ioannovich. It is conjectured that Blessed Laurence was descended from the noble Khitrov lineage, since his name initiates their lineage memorial at the Peremyshl’sk Liotykov monastery, in the Kaluga diocese. Blessed Laurence went barefoot both winter and summer, in a shirt and sheepskin coat. By his struggles he so raised himself up that while still alive he was glorified by gifts of grace.

When the Crimean Tatars fell upon Kaluga in May 1512, Blessed Laurence, then in the home of the prince, suddenly shouted out in a loud voice: “Give me my sharp axe, for the curs fall upon Prince Simeon and it is necessary to defend him!” Saying this, he seized the axe and left. Suddenly having come on board ship next to the prince, Righteous Laurence inspired and encouraged the soldiers, and in that very hour they defeated the enemy.

He is depicted in icons with an axe in his right hand, set upon a long handle. It is certain that Prince Simeon (+ 1518), owing him his safety, built a monastery in his memory on the site of the saint’s ascetic labors.

Blessed Laurence died on August 10, 1515, on his nameday. The memory of the saint is honored also on July 8.

Blessed Laurence was glorified, it seems, in the second half of the sixteenth century. Thus, Tsar Ivan the Terrible in a deed of donation to the monastery (1565) wrote: “Monastery of the Nativity of Christ, where lies Laurence, the Fool-for-Christ.” In the Life, the first posthumous miracle is recorded under the year 1621: the healing of the paralyzed boyar Kologrivov, who became well after a Molieben to the saint.