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Rasputin— from sinner and seducer to saint?
by Graeme J. Davidson,
21 March, 2009

Despite Rasputin’s debauched lifestyle, over recent years a group of nationalist Russians has been trying to get him declared a saint.

....At the beginning of January 1917, The Times told readers: “The nightmare has ended. Russia breathes more freely for the removal of a most baleful influence”. It reported that divers had found the body of “the notorious monk Rasputin” weighed down at the bottom of the Neva River in St Petersburg. It bore three bullet wounds.
....Britain had joined Russia to fight against Germany, and The Times suggested Rasputin was assassinated because he was pro–German – “one of the pivots of the Germanophil forces”. He had dangerous potential to change the direction of World War I through his intimacy with the Russian Emperor and Empress. The newspaper also marvelled how the uneducated Siberian peasant of “notorious depravity, whose name is execrated throughout the length and breadth of the Empire” could wield his sinister power.
....Myth and speculation surrounds Grigori Rasputin, the self-styled monk, prophet, mystic and faith healer known as the “Mad Monk”. Even The Times Russian correspondent called him “handsome with an extraordinary personality”. A heavy drinker and sex addict who engaged in orgies, he boasted to a magazine of his influence over women.
....An Orthodox monk outraged by Rasputin’s depravity, published letters the Empress had written to Rasputin, containing such lines as: “I only wish one thing: to fall asleep, forever on your shoulders and in your arms”. This fuelled rumours they were lovers. The Emperor retorted “The pure always attract dirt” as he protected the man he said was “our friend” and “man of God”.
....Despite Rasputin’s debauched lifestyle, over recent years a group of nationalist Russians has been trying to get him declared a saint.
While plenty of saints led immoral lifestyles, they reformed after seeing the light. Rasputin didn’t.
.... After a religious revelation in his late teens, he spent several months in a monastery before making a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. He then wandered throughout Russia gaining a reputation as a seducer of women, even though he was married with three children. He’s quoted as saying, “Sin is also from God. The more you sin, the stronger is your repentance, the closer to God you become.”
By that reasoning, Rasputin must have been very close to God.
....After he arrived in St Petersburg, he convinced local church leaders he could use his experiences to help others. He gained a reputation as a starets – a charismatic holy man with unique spiritual experience and gifts. People of all types visited him, especially women who felt purified by his healing touch and mystic prayer. This led to Rasputin becoming a successful faith healer to the haemophilic Tsarevich Alexei, the child heir to the Russian throne, and to his controversial influence on Russian politics. He was not above taking bribes to influence the royal court and his 13 years there may have helped to discredit the tsarist government and contribute to the fall of the Romanov dynasty.
.... His detractors accused him of using hypnotism. But Alexei recovered after he was near death in Poland when Rasputin prayed for him in Siberia.
....Three weeks before he died, Rasputin wrote to the Empress predicting his death before the end of the year, and if nobles killed him, the royal family would die within two years. That prediction came true.
....His autopsy showed no evidence of poisoning, drowning or being hard to kill. One bullet hit his shoulder, another his side, while the fatal shot to the middle of his forehead may have come from a different gun. It is now thought to have been fired from a British Webley revolver belonging to Lieutenant Oswald Rayner, Britain’s secret service agent in St Petersburg.
....The Russian Orthodox Church canonised the assassinated Romanov royal family as saints, but has rejected efforts to make Rasputin a saint. God might have given this sinner extraordinary spiritual gifts, but apart from an enduring fascination with his enigmatic life, his greatest legacy is to the modern pornography industry with a multitude of porn magazines, internet sites, movies and sex shops named after him.

 

 

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