Iconography and Hand painted icons

Blessed Nicholas Konchanov of Novgorod, the Fool-for-Christ

Blessed Nicholas Konchanov of Novgorod, the Fool-for-Christ

Commemorated on July 27

Blessed Nicholas Kochanov the Fool-For-Christ at Novgorod

The Righteous Nicholas Konchanov of Novgorod, Fool-for-Christ, was an ascetic of the fourteenth century in Novgorod, Russia who, through “mimical” warfare with the Blessed Theodore, strove to end internecine strife between citizens of the Torgov and Sophia sides of Novgorod. His feast day is July 27.


διά Χριστόν Σαλός_Fool-For-Christ_Юродивый-10949__big_1370354247 (1)Blessed Nicholas Konchanov of Novgorod was born at Novgorod into a rich and illustrious family. From his early years Nicholas loved piety. He attended church services faithfully and loved fasting and prayer. Seeing his virtuous life, the people of Novgorod began to praise him. Disdaining such glory from men, Nicholas began the difficult exploit of folly for the Lord’s sake. He roamed the city dressed in rags whether in the bitter cold of winter or the heat of summer, enduring beatings, insults, and mockery.

Mimicking the enmity and strife between the people of the Torgov quarter of Novgorod and those of the Sophia quarter, Nicholas and Theodore, another Novgorod fool, pretended to be irreconcilable foes, and graphically demonstrated to the people of Novgorod the pernicious character of their internecine strife. In one incident, having overcome his sham opponent Theodore, Nicholas proceeded along the Volkhov River as if on dry land and threw a head of cabbage at Theodore, thus earning himself the epitaph “Konchanov” (i.e. “cabbage-head”).

Once, after being turned away by servants from a feast to which he had been invited, he left. Immediately, the wine disappeared from the barrel. Only upon the return of the fool, and through his prayer, did it reappear again.

The Lord blessed Nicholas with the gift of miracles and clairvoyance. Once, after being turned away by servants from a feast to which he had been invited, he left peacefully. Immediately, the wine disappeared from the barrel and only through his prayer after the Fool-for-Christ returned did the wine reappear.

When he died in 1392, the Blessed Nicholas was buried at the end of the cemetery near the cathedral in Yakovlev. His relics now rest under a crypt in the church of the Great Martyr Panteleimon that was built over his grave.


Νικόλαος Κοτσάνωφ του Νόβγκοροντ_Nicholas Kochanov, Fool-for-Christ at Novgorod_Николай Кочанов, Христа ради юродивый Новгородский_0kQHL7v5olg (2)A tale about two Novgorodian saints, both holy fools, who threw cabbages at each other either on the bridge or (not bothering with the bridge) while standing on the water adjacent to the bridge. This was back in the 14th century so I have no wire photo of the event to pass along. The tale follows:
“The Fools Theodore and Nicholas lived in Novgorod. A great bridge joined two sections of the city, Torgova and Sofia. On this bridge many horrible fights broke out between the Capuletokovs and Montaguskys (sic). Bishops often had to rush to the bridge and put a stop to the violence.
“Well, then the Fools began to fight on the bridge, to demonstrate, as only Fools can, the stupidity of violence. Theodore would not let Nicholas cross over, and vice versa. “But then a nobleman invited Theodore to cross over and visit him. And Theodore, after much begging, agreed. He crossed over, and suddenly Nicholas appeared. Nick chased Ted along the bank of the Volkhov River, then Ted ran right ONTO the river. Nick rushed into a nearby garden and grabbed a head of cabbage, and then he too ran ONTO the river. And Nick hurled the cabbage at Ted.
“Many people witnessed this event. And Blessed Nicholas was given the name ‘Kochanov’ meaning ‘head of cabbage’.”
This comes from “God’s Fools,” published by Synaxis Press (Dewdney, British Columbia).

The Troparion, In Tone I:

   Having heard the voice of Thine Apostle Paul, saying: * We are foolish for Christ’s sake, * Thy servant Nicholas, O Christ God, * did love the life of the foolish for Thy sake on earth. * Wherefore in venerating his memory * we entreat Thee, O Lord, to save our souls.

For the Vespers Aposticha the Stichera.
In Tone II:

Spec. Mel.: O House of Ophrah.
   A temple and abode of the Most Holy Spirit wast thou, * O most wise Nicholas; * wherefore also make us who honor thy holy memory * temples of the same Spirit.

Stichos: The righteous shall be glad in the Lord, and shall hope in Him.
   Thy life like the sun shines forth in the hearts of the faithful, * emitting miracles; * wherefore illumine with the never-fading light * us also who honor thine all-honorable memory.

Stichos: The righteous man shall flourish like a palm-tree; like a cedar in Lebanon shall he be multiplied.
   Cease not making supplication on behalf of us thy servants, * so near unto thee, * since thou Nicholas, hast enlightened us with thy spiritual life, * that we all may joyfully honor thy honorable memory.

Glory …, In Tone IV:

   Thou hast appeared, O most blessed Nicholas, /as an earthly Angel and a heavenly dweller, * a fountain of compassion, a current of mercy, * an abyss of wonders, a stream of healings, * a divine olive-tree truly fruitful, * with the oil of thy labors enlightening those who faithfully honor thee, * O truly wonder-worthy one, * entreat the Lover of mankind to deliver from afflictions * those who lovingly celebrate thine all-honorable memory.

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