Travel & Tourism

Grigori Rasputin. Holy old man or a swindler on a global scale?

Grigori Rasputin was born in 1869 in the large village of Pokrovskoye in the Tobolsk province on the banks of the Siberian river Tura. Back in the middle of the 18th century, his ancestors, among the first settlers who mastered Siberia, settled in Pokrovskaya Sloboda.

Father cultivated his allotment of land, and when the field and harvest time ended, on a mile road from Tyumen to Tobolsk he hunted by cab or loader on ships and barges. Being the only assistant to his father, Gregori did not receive education, but the deeply religious head of the family every evening read the Gospel and the lives of saints from a book or by heart.

By the age of 15-16, a peasant boy felt a spiritual urge to visit holy places, he pilgrimage to the nearest monasteries, where he met his future wife. There are evidences that around the period 1890-1900 Gregory abused alcohol, which caused even greater desire be closer to God in order to pray for his sins. And he continued pilgrimage to the monasteries of the Russian Empire, their geography amazes – he walked with his feet half the vast country, and also visited the holy Mount Athos in Greece in the 1900s.

After a long absence, Rasputin every time returned to his family, to peasant labor and farming, which without him were an old father, wife and a growing son. In 1904, Grigori first arrives in St. Petersburg and immediately goes to the Alexander Nevsky Lavra to worship the holy relics of the Holy Prince Alexander Nevsky.

Then he managed to visit the theological academy, where he met Archimandrite Theophanes, the unofficial confessor of the royal family. A year later, on his next visit to Petersburg, Feofan introduced Grigori to the princes of Montenegro, who were married to the grand dukes of Romanovs – brothers Peter and Nikolai. So his wanderings led to acquaintance with Emperor Nicholas 2 and his wife Alexandra at one of the dachas of the Grand Dukes.

Soon he was invited to the palace, where, during more than an hour’s conversation, Grigori made an indelible impression on the sovereign, about which the last recorded in his diary. The imperial family lived very amicably and happily, Nicholas and Alexandra raised five children – 4 girls and one boy, Tsarevich Alexei. It should be noted here that the boy was the long-awaited heir to the Russian throne and was born the same year when Rasputin first appeared in St. Petersburg. But the joy of his birth was overshadowed by the soon established diagnosis – hemophilia.

He inherited this ailment from his great-grandmother on the maternal side of Queen Victoria of Great Britain. The first case of Rasputin’s assistance to a sick heir dates back to 1907. We know about this from the diaries of the imperial family and their closest associates. That time the boy twisted his leg, which provoked severe internal bleeding, the child writhed from pain and was exhausted, the doctors only whispered and shrugged their hands from helplessness.

Empress Alexandra already knew about many cases when Grigori helped the sick and unfortunate with his prayer and wise advice, therefore, ordered to send for him for help. And a miracle happened, in the morning the prince was healthy, he felt good. Doctors were forced to admit that the attack could not pass so quickly and without a trace by its own. Alexandra said: “he didn’t even touch him, he only stood on his knees and prayed”.

Since then, only Rasputin was able to stop every such attack, cases of bleeding became less and less and as the old man promised, in the near future they should have completely disappeared. You need to understand that the imperial family had a brilliant education, they were surrounded by the best doctors of Russia at that time, but no one could explain this healing in any way except by divine intervention.

In the pre-revolutionary and Soviet period, there were many publications and even books exposing the inexplicable capabilities of Grigori Rasputin, however, to this day, having access to archives and the possibilities of science, researchers have not been able to find facts confirming these disclosures. Many also unconfirmed rumors spread throughout the country and abroad – about the empress’s alleged love affair with Rasputin, about his indecent assimilation and drunkenness, about his unacceptable influence on the emperor. Of course, it is foolish to deny the royal family’s spiritual affection for “Our Friend,” as they called him in letters. Well, how else could loving parents behave with a single person able to alleviate the suffering of a priceless child.

Portrait of Grigory Rasputin by Anna Krarup. 1916

On the night of December 16-17, 1916, Grigori Rasputin was killed by a group of conspirators in the palace of the Yusupovs on the embankment of the Moika River. Like the life of an old man, his tragic death is shrouded in mystery and a huge number of speculation and secrets. What is really justified in this case, and I will talk about them in a separate article.

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