Facts about Rasputin

26 facts about Rasputin

One of the most influential people in early 20th century Russia

Grigori Rasputin was a Siberian peasant who, in a completely unusual way, became one of the most influential people in the Tsarist Romanov court and thus in Russia.

He was probably an excellent psychologist who, using religion and perhaps some bioenergetic and manipulative abilities, was able to accomplish a great deal. He charmed not only Tsarina Alexandra Fyodorovna but also multitudes of women who were willing to do anything for him. So who was this man of very common, uninteresting appearance?

Grigori Rasputin was a Russian peasant claiming to be an Orthodox monk, a mystic, and a favorite of the family of Tsar Nicholas II Romanov.
No details of his birth date exist; he was probably born in January 1869, although he gave different birth dates at various stages of his life.
He was born into a peasant family in the Siberian village of Pokrovskoye in Tyumen Oblast.
There is also uncertainty about his real name. Some studies state that his probable surname may have been Nowych, but also that this surname may have been adopted by him only with the approval of Nicholas II, as Rasputin was associated negatively.
He did not have a good reputation even in his home village.
Rasputin did not attend school and helped his father occasionally in the wagon business, transporting goods and people. He was known for his penchant for alcohol, tobacco, and women, as well as brawling in the local tavern and stealing. He was even called a horse thief.
At nineteen, he married Praskovia Fedorovna Dubrovna, with whom he had four children.

A spiritual transformation began to take place in Rasputin. It is not known what caused it, whether the fact that his six-month-old first-born son died or the fact that he was severely battered while trying to steal horses.

He began to visit various monasteries and hermitages and made pilgrimages to holy places not only in Russia. In 1893 he traveled to what is now Greece, to the Orthodox center on Mount Athos, where he listened to the monks' theological discussions. He memorized the passages of Scripture and the writings of the Fathers of the Church, having never read them himself because he was semi-illiterate. However, the monastic life he experienced there discouraged him from remaining in the order.

After three years on Mount Athos, he returned to the country, traveled, healed, prophesied, and preached the Word of God.

He was recognized as a monk, clairvoyant and an exorcist, although he did not take vows. Today he would probably also be considered a bioenergy therapist because he healed people - as he claimed.

He developed a peculiar style of being and speaking, characteristic of the "Old Monk," which convinced simple people. He made an impression of an experienced monk teaching spiritual life and asceticism. He did not eat meat or sweets. The so-called "old age" was strongly inscribed in the Eastern tradition and was a solid spiritual movement in Russia in the 19th century.

As he traveled around the country, he met with representatives of the official Orthodox Church, adherents of various religious sects, and ordinary people at markets, railroad stations, and river stops.
That was when the so-called "Rasputin circle" was formed, which initially grouped people from Rasputin's native village, calling themselves "brothers and sisters." Later, people outside the local community began to join this circle.
The local Orthodox community did not like Rasputin's activities as they were considered heresy and a source of demoralization and depravity.
The accusations went to the governor and the Orthodox authorities, who did not find any irregularities in Rasputin's activities. He continued to participate in the religious practices of the Orthodox Church and led an exemplary family life, although administrative and Orthodox authorities harassed him.
Rasputin began to seek patronage from well-known centers of Russian Orthodoxy, and to this end began his "great journey" in 1903.
He traveled to St. Petersburg, and there, thanks to Archimandrite Chrysant (guardian of monasteries within a given diocese), he met with the rector of the Theological Academy and Archimandrite Theophanes, who offered him an apartment in his monastery cell. 
In discussions with the clergy, Rasputin delighted his interlocutors with simplicity, depth and sincerity of faith. Soon, however, unflattering opinions about him reached St. Petersburg, depicting him as an impostor and debauchee. He was advised to leave the city for a while.
As a "saintly man," he returned to his native village, where a crowd of female admirers awaited him.
Accompanied by them, he made several pilgrimages to Verkhoturia, to the grave of one of the saints of the Russian Orthodox Church, Simeon Verkhotursky.
In 1905, Rasputin returned to St. Petersburg. A circle of his friends led to his presentation at the Tsar's court.
The Tsar's family was then going through a difficult time, both in national governance and family troubles. Tsar Nicholas II's only son, Alexei, was suffering from hemophilia. Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna was doing everything she could to cure her son.