The Evil Monk: Rasputin The Life And Times Of Gregory Efimovich Rasputin

3786 words - 15 pages

The Evil Monk: RasputinThe life and times of Gregory Efimovich RasputinBy Bijan AdatiaNo 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 Russia and achieved great recognition as a "staretz," or holy man in the highest circles of St. Petersburg society. 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 Siberia on the banks of the Tura River. 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 land and back. It was while in Kazan that 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. Petersburg for 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 dead before his fiftieth year. And no one was more terrified by the events unfolding at the Imperial compound at Livadia, in the Crimea, as the young heir, Tsarevich Nicholas Alexandrovich. At the...

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