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When her treacherous lover abandons her to certain death, Juliette escapes with her little daughter to Sainte Marie de la Mer, a remote convent run as an undemanding - almost pagan - commune.
Holy Fools in Byzantium and Beyond
Following the murder of Henri IV in Paris, a new abbess arrives determined to infuse the nuns with strict religious zeal. Re-enter LeMerle, masquerading as a zealous and wildly handsome priest, who sets out to win the hearts and loins of every adoring woman in the place. For personal reasons of his own - pride, rage, self-amusement - LeMerle, watched by a mesmerised Juliette, persuades the innocent nuns that they are possessed by the devil, and then sits back to admire their ensuing descent into mass hysteria and the fires of hell.
Egged on by this preposterous priest, the innocent nuns gyrate and twitch and expose themselves, vying to be possessed by demons, revelling in the imagined depths of sin and oblivious to the fact that there is only one devil here - the man LeMerle, smiling and nodding as he warms his hands at the fires of human frailty.
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Juliette, armed only with truth and rationality, will take him on, and perhaps defeat him in the short term, but she cannot uproot the seed that he has planted in her womb and soul. Joanne Harris fought hard for LeMerle. Four months before the book came out she said that "LeMerle has already caused more controversy than any other character I have ever created," adding that "I don't see him entirely as a villain. In fact, he is a kind of existential hero.
In ancient Greece, the Cynics were similar to our holy fools — they believed in a simple life and rejected the values of the day — riches, greed and immorality were their particular targets. Perhaps the most famous Cynic is Diogenes, who, among other things, carried a lit lamp around with him, searching, he said, for an honest man.
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He slept in a tub and is said to have eaten raw meat. In our faith, Holy Fools often serve the same purpose as their Old Testament counterparts: It requires someone to reject the values of the world, and sometimes, even to seem to reject the teachings of the church. They forfeit the acceptance of others, and they act in ways that often convince people they are insane.
Isadora, of the Tabenna monastery, is one of the earliest examples of a fool for Christ who was more than likely faking mental illness.
Sergey A. Ivanov
For the sake of humility, she wore a dishrag on her head, undertook the dirtiest and least rewarding jobs in the monastery, drank dirty dishwater and endured with meekness, humility, and silence the contempt and disdain of her sisters. Her cover was blown when a monk showed up one day at the monastery, demanding to see her and claiming God had shown her to him in a vision. Once they discovered how truly holy she was, she left the monastery and disappeared from history. Alexander of Constantinople is another example — he feigned madness with everyone but his spiritual advisor and disciple, and suffered greatly because of it.
Petersburg is perhaps one such — she was so grief-stricken on the death of her husband that she gave all her possessions away, wore his clothing, and adopted his name.
Review: Holy Fools by Joanne Harris | Books | The Guardian
She wandered the streets of St. Petersburg and spent the nights in a field outside of town. Was she mentally ill, or was she faking it to convince others, and distract them from her piety and humility? Feofil is another example, whose madness seemed at times calculated, as when he behaved badly in order to be released from an obedience he hated, and at times an illness, as when he kept his cell full of mess and dirt and food, or he blew his nose on the altar cloths and stood with his back to the altar.
There are undoubtedly others who have never come to light, simply because they were so good at feigning madness, or who were truly ill, that they were locked away and are known only to God.
But they are a necessary and vital part of the church, both to show us our faults as individuals and as the Body of Christ, and to demonstrate an amazing humility and piousness to us. Svitlana Kobets, Foolishnes in Christ: Posted by the Orthodox Christian Network.
Cooke has been writing for publication since Her first love is writing for young adults, and she has three YA books on the market: Keeper of the Light, a historical fiction about St. Macrina the Elder in Feral, an edgy mainstream novel was released by Orca Book Publishers in Her latest publication is a departure from her regular work - an Akathist to St.
Mary of Egypt, published by Alexander Press in , which was written partly as a response to the seventy missing women from downtown Vancouver's east side, and as a plea to St.