Blessed John, Fool-for-Christ, Moscow Wonderworker, was born in the Vologda outskirts. In his youth he toiled at a saltworks, where he was a "water-carrier". With his heavy work the saint combined strict fasting and prayer. Later he moved on to Rostov, where he began his exploit of holy fool. He wore chains with heavy iron crosses and on his head was an heavy iron cap, for which they called him "Ioann – Big-Cap". In Moscow he went barefoot and almost naked in even the most severe frost, and he foretold the great misfortunes for Russia, the Time of Troubles and the incursion of the Polish, saying, that "in Moscow will be many seen and unseen devils".
He fearlessly spoke the truth to everyone, regardless of the position they might occupy. Even to the tsar himself, Boris Godunov, he often said the words: "A clever mind, thou inquirest God's doing. God long waiteth, painfully indeed it breaketh". Before death Saint John indicated for himself a grave at the Pokrov church on Rva, afterwards called the cathedral of Basil/Vasilii the Great. Having readied himself for the grave, he removed the chains and thrice showered himself with water. Before his death (+ 1589) the blessed one displayed the gift of healing. He was venerated at Moscow as a great wonderworker and seer. On 12 June 1672 his relics were uncovered, resting beneathe a crypt in one of the chapels of the cathedral of Basil the Great. The service and vita-life were preserved in manuscripts of the XVII Century.