"Kiryushova the holy fool"
Hexameron icon (Russia, 1850)
were those who rejected the ordinary standards of society in order to devote their lives to the imitation of Christ, following his example in enduring mockery and suffering. They would give up their worldly possessions in favour of an itinerant life of poverty, worship and 'foolish' action, hoping by the latter to show up the inherent inconsistencies and hypocrisies of their society. (Sometimes the holy fools were genuinely mad; sometimes madness was simulated). Several Russian Orthodox saints were holy fools, including St Basil and St Procopius.