ROMAN CATHOLICS MET ORTHODOXY
Saint Isidore the German Fool-for-Christ in Rostov, Russia (+1474)
From Roman Catholicism to Orthodoxy
Feast day: May 14
Saint Isidore Tverdislov (“Constant of Word”), Fool-for-Christ, Wonderworker of Rostov. He was born in Germany of rich parents. From his youth, he led “an unsullied life and had a compassionate understanding.” Leaving his parental home and “desiring the Kingdom of God,” Saint Isidore distributed his wealth to the poor. Taking up the staff of a wanderer, he visited many lands and cities.
It is not known where he accepted the holy Orthodox Faith, but he was raised in Catholicism. Finally, he arrived in Russia and decided to live in Rostov. Here Saint Isidore, “in filth and snow and rain and cold” and “enduring every outrage,” settled in a rickety wooden hut that he himself had made. He chose a foolish manner of life for the sake of Christ, which Saint Paul describes in his Epistle” (1 Cor.4:10-13).
Saint Isidore spent all his time at unceasing prayer, not allowing himself much sleep or rest. “He stood at all night vigil and praise” to dedicate his body “everlastingly to God.”
By day the blessed one made the rounds of the city, acting like a fool. “Like Job of old in his patience,” Blessed Isidore, while still alive, was “an earthly angel and a heavenly man,” “a compassionate soul, and pure of thought, and vigilant heart and faith unassailed, and true love without pretense.” During his life he received the grace to work miracles.
Saint Isidore reposed in the year 1474. They learned of his death only when passing by his hut they noticed a special fragrance. At the place of his burial in the city of Rostov the church of the Ascension of the Lord was built, in which his relics rest in a crypt as a source of miracles to the present day.
Blessed Isidore is termed “Tverdislov” [“Constant of Word”] since that he spoke constantly. [The title “Tverdislov” seems unique to Saint Isidore. This supplemental account of him is from Bulgakov’s NASTOLNAYA KNIGA (1900).]
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