Like an ant – a grain of sand to a grain of sand – Father Vasily built his life: he married, became a priest, produced a son and daughter. After seven years, life crumbled to dust. Drowned in the river by his son, his wife began to drink with sorrow. Rest is not found by Father Vasily and in the temple – people are avoiding him, the elder is openly despising. Even on the name day, only the clergy come to him, the venerable fellow villagers do not pay attention to the father. At night, a drunk wife demands caresses from him, hoarsely begging: “Give your son, pop! Give, damned!” And her passion conquers a chaste husband.
A boy is born, in memory of his late brother they call him Vasily. Soon it becomes clear that the child is an idiot; life is even more unbearable. Before, it seemed to Father Vasily: the earth is tiny, but on it alone, huge. Now this land is suddenly populated by people, they all go to confession to him, and he, ruthlessly and shamelessly demanding from everyone the truth, repeats with restrained anger: “What can I do? That I’m God? Ask Him!” He called for grief – and sorrow goes and comes from all over the earth, and he is powerless to reduce the earthly grief, but only repeats: “Ask Him!” – already doubting the desire of God to alleviate human suffering.
Somehow the Great Lent confesses to him the poor cripple. He makes a terrible confession: he raped a girl in the forest
That night, on the eve of Good Friday, Father Basil confesses to his wife that he can not go to church. He decides to go through somehow summer, and in the autumn to take off his dignity and leave with his family where his eyes look, far, far away…
This decision brings peace to the house. Three months the soul rest. And at the end of July, when Father Vasily was on haymaking, a fire broke out in his house and his wife burned alive.
He wandered the old deacon for a long time, serving with him and sheltering with his daughter and son after the fire. And the thoughts of Father Basil are wonderful: the fire – was it not the same fiery pillar as the one that pointed to the Jews in the desert? All his life, God decided to turn into the desert – is it not for him, Vasily of Thebes, not to wander more along the old, worn paths…?
And for the first time in many years, bowing his head humbly, he pronounces that morning: “Thy Holy will be done!” – and the people who saw him that morning in the garden, meet an unfamiliar, completely new, like from another world, a man who asks them with a smile: “Why are you looking at me like that, am I a miracle?”
Father Vasily sends his daughter to the city to his sister, builds a new house, where he lives alone with his son, reading the Gospel aloud to him and for the first time hearing about the healing of the blind, about the resurrection of Lazarus. In the church he now serves daily; imposed monastic vows, strict fasting. And this new life is even more alarming to his fellow villagers. When the peasant Semyon Mosyagin dies, determined by Father Vasily in the workmen to the church elder, everyone agrees on what is to blame – pop.
The elder comes to Father Vasily in the altar and directly declares: “Get out of here.” From you here are some misfortunes. “The hen and she do not dare for no reason, but people die from you.” And then Father Basil, who had been afraid of the headman all his life, the first to take off his hat when he met him, expelled him from the temple, like a biblical prophet, with anger and a flame in his eyes…
The funeral of the Seeds takes place on the Spirits Day. In the temple there is the smell of decay, it’s dark outside the windows, like at night. Anxiety runs through the crowd of worshipers. And the storm breaks: after interrupting the reading of memorial prayers, Father Basil laughers soundlessly and triumphantly, like Moses, who saw God, and, coming to the coffin, where the ugly, swollen body lies, he zychno proclaims: “I tell you – get up!”
His dead man does not listen, he does not open his eyes, he does not rise from the grave. “Do not want?” – Father Basil shakes the coffin, pushes the dead from it. The people run out of the temple in fear, believing that demons have settled into the quiet and absurd of their pastor. And he continues to cry to the deceased; but rather the walls will collapse, than his dead man will listen… And he does not fight a dead man – he fights with God, in whom he believes unlimitedly and therefore has the right to demand a miracle!
Enraged, Father Basil runs out of the church and rushes through the village, in a clear field, where he mourned his bitter fate, his burned-up life more than once. There, in the middle of the field, and the peasants will find him the next day – spread out in such a pose, as if he was still running…