Basil the Blessed
In Moscow's Red Square stands St. Basil's Cathedral, named after the "Holy Fool," Basil the Blessed who was born in 1468. Trained as a cobbler, Basil soon was known as one who could foretell the future. When he was sixteen he moved to Moscow and began an unusual life. Summer or winter, he walked around Moscow naked, barefoot, praying.
He earned the Holy Fool moniker by acting dramatically to make a spiritual point. He besieged the homes of people he considered insincere with stones, or loudly wept for them. Basil visited taverns to minister to their customers. He obtained help for those too ashamed to ask for it. Basil preached mercy, helped the poor, and hounded the rich into giving alms.
Basil was unafraid of powerful rulers or wealthy people. He was one of the few people brave enough to take on the powerful Ivan the Terrible, who he once criticized for being distracted during prayer. During Lent, when Christians were supposed to refrain from eating meat, Basil gave Ivan a huge slab of raw meat to emphasize the ruler's ruthless killing. The murderous tsar feared the Holy Fool enough to leave him alone.
Basil the Blessed died in 1557.