Gregory Efimovich Rasputin Essay

4550 words - 18 pages

Gregory Efimovich Rasputin No other figure in recent Russian history has received the amount of
vilification and contempt heaped upon Gregory Rasputin. The
self-styled monk, who received practically little education in the
intricacies of the Russian Orthodox faith, came from the rural areas
of Russiaand achieved great recognition as a "staretz," or holy man in
the highest circles of St. Petersburgsociety. From rags to social
prominence the life of Gregory Rasputin holds many of the events
leading to the eventual overthrow of the Russian imperial system, the
dethronement of the House of Romanov and the assassination of the
Imperial Family.

Gregory Efimovich Rasputin came from solid peasant stock. Gregory
Efimovich was born on January 10, 1869, in Prokovskoe, a small village
in Siberiaon the banks of the TuraRiver. As a young lad, Rasputin
shocked his village by constantly finding ways to get into trouble
with the authorities. Drunkenness, stealing and womanizing were
activities particularly enjoyed by the dissolute young man. Rasputin
in fact was developing into a rake, a man with a debauched, and
endless, sexual appetite.

It was while on one of his escapades that Rasputin was first impacted
by the mystical powers of the Russian Orthodox religion. At
Verkhoturye Monastery Rasputin was fascinated by a renegade sect
within the Orthodox faith, the Skopsty. Followers of the Skopsty
firmly believed that the only way to reach God was through sinful
actions. Once the sin was committed and confessed, the penitent could
achieve forgiveness. In reality, what the Skopsty upheld was to "sin
to drive out sin." Rasputin, one of the biggest sinners of the
province, was suddenly struck by the potential held by this theory. It
was soon thereafter that the debauched, lecherous peasant adopted the
robes of a monk, developed his own self-gratifying doctrines, traveled
the country as a "staretz" and sinned to his heart's content.

By the time he reached his early thirties, Rasputin had traveled to
the Holy landand back. It was while in Kazanthat the mysterious
traveling monk made an impression among the local clergy. It was with
the recommendations of these fooled priests that Rasputin headed to
St. Petersburgfor his first visit. While in the Russian capital,
Rasputin's presence attracted the attention of many of the country's
leading religious leaders. The staretz' traveling tales, as well as
the stories he told about his religious revival, seemed to capture the
attention of the higher clergy of the Russian empire. The year was
1902.

The Tsar's death seemed imminent as his once strong body caved under
the strain of his sickness. No one would have thought that Tsar
Alexander III, a giant by most accounts, would be...

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