Grigori Rasputin was a self-proclaimed holy man who originated in the badlands of Siberia. Born in 1869, Rasputin grew up as a simple peasant in a land of vast wilderness with extreme temperatures, illiterate farmers, troublesome criminals, and exiled politicians.

From an early age, Rasputin had been noted by locals for his ability to cure supposedly incurable sick animals simply with a touch of his hand or a quietly administered prayer, he was also believed to have visions, one of which successfully identified a horse thief. hidden among a crowd of strangers.

As a young man he was particularly interested in the Russian Orthodox Church, so much so that he wandered long distances to visit monasteries in far-off places, such as the famous monasteries on Mount Athos in Greece.

Later, despite being married and having three children, he regularly left his hometown of Pokrovskoye on the banks of the Tura River, to study the Orthodox faith with some of the leading religious minds of the time.

Such a study was not unusual for serious Orthodox scholars, but what was unusual was how affected these holy men were with their student, Grigori Rasputin.

Rasputin somehow captivated these learned men, they enthusiastically introduced him to even more prominent religious tutors in an upward spiral of learning. Eventually he found himself in the second largest city in Russia, St. Petersburg, in the society of the most prominent clerical minds of the time.

Although Rasputin was essentially an illiterate and often dirty product of Siberia, he still managed to build a circle of admirers who adored him, all of whom were eager to hear him teach the faith in his unique, rough and outspoken style, he was seen as a blow. of fresh air compared to the more formal and often patronizing doctrines projected by classically educated priests.

What was most exciting was that this nearly dangerous long-haired, bearded character of a confessed holy man, with eerily hypnotic eyes, exuded a magnetic presence that captivated his audiences, large or small.

It was around this time in St. Petersburg society that the question was first posed as to whether Rasputin could be ‘The Second Coming of Christ?’

Rasputin’s reputation traveled far and wide and he was even introduced to the Tsar, Nicholas II, who had a son and heir named Alexei, who suffered from a bleeding disease known as hemophilia.

Nicholas’s wife, Tsarina Alexandra, was especially devoted to Alexei and when he was injured so badly that doctors declared that he was beyond help and would soon die, she was beside herself. After a priest administered the Last Rites and the Russian masses were notified of his son’s impending death through newspapers, he decided that he would try anything to save his son’s rapidly decaying life.

As a last resort, Alexandra, who had previously met Rasputin and heard stories of his mystical powers, sent him a desperate telegram asking for his help in saving her son, but Rasputin was in his hometown of Pokrovskoye nearly 2,000 miles away when received it. supplication, however, upon his return, he immediately responded with a telegram of his own.

“The child will not die!” he announced, “Keep the medics away until I get there!”

Almost immediately, Alexei began to recover and after Rasputin arrived and became the boy’s regular companion, he never suffered from the disease again.

Such inexplicable ‘miracles’ significantly enhanced the reputation of the self-styled holy man both within the royal palace and in the higher echelons of St. Petersburg society.

However, although Grigori Rasputin was worshiped by the tsarina in the royal house and people in general were in awe of his mystical feats, he also began to show a much darker side of his character.

When out of the sight of royalty, Rasputin was recognized as an inveterate drunk, his lewdness knew no bounds, and his religious gatherings were turning primarily to gullible groups of ‘parish ladies’ who at times verged on being labeled orgies. .

Meanwhile, over time he began to twist Tsarina Alexandra’s will around his finger, so much so that while Tsar Nicholas was on the military front during the war with Japan, the ministers of the Russian government began to openly question who dictated the household. and the army. politics, it was Regent Tsarina or her closest adviser Rasputin.

With such rumors about Rasputin’s indiscreet behavior and political decisions that were dragging Russia closer and closer to an abyss, the Siberian holy man was becoming the great villain of the play. The newspapers published cartoons of Rasputin using the tsar and the tsarina as mere puppets, and rumors even began to spread that the tsarina was Rasputin’s secret lover.

This was the scene of the beginning of the Russian Revolution, the workers no longer believed that the Tsar was their God-given ruler and the door was opened for Lenin, Stalin and Trotsky to orchestrate the uprising that finally dissolved the Russian monarchy that had ruled Russia. for generations.

A year before World War I began in 1917, the revolution soon followed, Rasputin was successfully assassinated by members of the general royal family. By this time, all Rasputin’s thoughts as the second coming of Christ had long since evaporated, he had become public enemy number one, and everyone breathed a sigh of relief at his death. However, he left behind a legacy of actions and predictions that to this day cannot be fully explained.

First, during his lifetime, rumors abounded that he could not be killed. The actual details of his murder make this statement seem almost true.

He also predicted before his death that if he was assassinated by a member of the royal family, the tsar, his wife and all his children would soon follow him, this, of course, happened.

He also claimed that after his death he would rise from the grave, this he did, although not necessarily in the way that the imagination of the event would have foreseen.

Something about Rasputin was undoubtedly larger than life. He had some inexplicable powers of mystification and an effect on people that his daughter Maria described as “magnetism.”

Although he did not formally train in hypnotism until later in life, many of his acts from early youth infer some level of natural hypnotic power, yet characterizing it as ‘The Second Coming of Christ’ seems to have proven far from the truth. . , although it has never been successfully explained what gave him so much influence over the people around him.

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