Table of Contents
1.0 Preface 1
1.1 Preliminary Definitions 1
1.2 Foolishness in Christ in Slavic Scholarship 4
1.3 The Holy Fool in Russian Literary Scholarship 13
1.4 Statement of Purpose 16
1.5 Methodology and Composition 19
1.6 Translation and Transliteration 25
2.0 Introduction to the Subject. Salos and Iurodivyi: Notes on Terminology 27
3.0 Notes on the Phenomenology and Topoi of Russian Holy Foolishness 30
4.0 Divine Foolishness: History, Apology, Doctrine 45
5.0 Hagiographic Topoi of Foolishness in Christ 55
5.1 Holy Foolish Paradigms in Byzantium: Topoi of Byzantine
Foolishness in Christ 55
5.1.1 St. Isidora the Fool 56
5.1.2 St. Serapion the Sindonite 61
5.1.3 St. Simeon of Emesa 68
5.1.4 St. Andrew of Constantinople 72
5.2 Foolishness for Christ in the Hagiography of Kievan Rus’ 88
5.2.1 St. Isaakii of the Kiev Cave Monastery 98
5.2.2 St. Avraamii of Smolensk 109
5.2.3 St. Feodosii of Kiev Cave Monastery 116
5.3 The Russian Paradigm of Iurodstvo: Novgorod 128
5.3.1 St. Prokopii of Ustiug 129
5.3.2 SS. Fiodor of Novgorod and Nikola Kochanov 143
5.3.3 St. Michael of Klopsko Monastery 151
6.0 The Supremacy of the Pariah: the Holy Fool and the Czar 164
7.0 The Holy Fool in Muscovy and Russia: from the Middle Ages to
      Modernity 175
8.0 Secular Textualizations of the Holy Foolish Paradigm 209
8.1 Secular Adaptations of the Holy-Foolish Paradigm: Lzhe-iurodivye and
Iurodstvuiushchie 209
8.2 Folly Without Holiness: Ivan the Terrible and the Holy Foolish
      Paradigm 216
8.2.1 Correspondence with Andrei Kurbskii 245
8.3 Foolishness in Christ in Avvakum’s Life Written by Himself 262
8.3.1 Fools in Christ in Avvakum’s Life 265
8.3.2 Holy Foolishness in the Narrative of Avvakum’s Life 292
9.0 Conclusion: The Paradigm and Topoi of Russian Foolishness in Christ 312
APPENDIX: Byzantine and Russian Fools in Christ Canonized by Russian
 Orthodox Church or Venerated Locally 320
Bibliography 322
Curriculum Vitae 337
Svetlana V. Kobets, Ph.D.
Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2001
Richard Tempest, Adviser
Holy foolishness for Christ's sake, or iurodstvo, is a peculiar form of East Orthodox asceticism, whose practitioners feign madness in order to provide public with spiritual guidance but eschew praise for their saintliness. My doctoral dissertation, "Genesis and Development of Holy Foolishness as Textual Topos in Early Russian Literature," explores the phenomenon of foolishness in Christ through its various textualizations in the works of Early and Mediaeval Russian literature. In order to highlight cultural uniqueness of Russian foolishness in Christ I first discuss it against the background of its Byzantine model.
While discussing early and Mediaeval Russian hagiographic texts I outline the important developmental stages in the formation of the Russian paradigm of holy foolishness. Russian hagiographers of iurodstvo made it an integral part of Russian Orthodox spirituality, thereby expanding its meaning and import. At the same time they created the cultural and religious context in which this ascetic exploit blossomed in Medieval Russia. If the Life of St. Isaakii of Kievan Cave Monastery exemplifies peculiarities of the first image of the Russian iurodivyi and the first Russian interpretation of holy foolish sanctity, then the Lives of St. Avraamii of Smolensk and St. Feodosii of the Kievan Cave monastery reflect the application of holy foolish phenomenology to the development of a uniquely Russian notion of holiness.
The attempt to put Russian hagiographic accounts about foolishness in Christ in line with Byzantine hagiographic pattern took place only in Novgorodian tradition. Already there Russian iurodstvo was presented as a sui generis phenomenon.
When the holy fool becomes an archetypal character in Russian culture, his phenomenology becomes an object of secular emulation. In my dissertation I discuss this issue in application to the personality and deeds of Tsar Ivan the Terrible (1530-1584).
The last chapter of my dissertation deals with thematic and stylistic application of holy foolishness in the writings of the leader of Russian Schism Archpriest Avvakum (1620-1682).
© 2022 by Svitlana Kobets. All right reserved.