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Was Rasputin the Second Coming of Christ?

Grigori Rasputin was a self proclaimed holy-man who originated from the wastelands of Siberia. Born in 1869 Rasputin was raised as a simple peasant in a land of vast wilderness with extremes of temperature, illiterate farmers, troublesome criminals and exiled politicians.

From a very early age Rasputin had been noted by the locals for his ability to heal supposedly incurably sick animals simply by 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 hiding amongst a crowd of strangers.

As a young man he became particularly interested in the Russian Orthodox Church, so much so that he took to wandering long distances to visit monasteries in far flung places such as the famous Mount Athos monasteries in Greece.

Later, despite being married with three children, he regularly left his home village of Pokrovskoye on the banks of the Tura River, to study the Orthodox faith under some of the greatest religious minds of the time.

Such study was not unusual for serious Orthodox scholars, but what was uncommon was how stricken these holy-men became with their student, Grigori Rasputin.

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

Although Rasputin was essentially an illiterate and often unwashed product of Siberia, he still managed to build up a circle of adoring fans all of whom were eager to listen to him teach the faith in his unique style, rough and outspoken he was seen as a breath of fresh air as compared to the more formal and often condescending doctrines as projected by the classically educated priests.

What was more exciting was that this long haired and bearded, almost dangerous character of a self confessed holy-man, with disturbingly hypnotic eyes exuded a magnetic presence that captivated his audiences, large or small.

It was around this time in the St Petersburg society where the question was first raised of whether Rasputin could be ‘The Second Coming of Christ?’

Rasputin’s reputation was travelling far and wide and he was even introduced to the Tsar, Nicholas II, who had a son and heir named Alexei who was chronically smitten by the bleeding disease known as Hemophilia.

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

As a last resort Alexandra, who had previously met Rasputin and heard tales of his mystical powers, sent him a desperate telegram pleading for his help to save her son, but Rasputin was in his home village of Pokrovskoye almost 2000 miles away when he received her plea, however by return he immediately responded with a telegram of his own.

“The boy will not die!” he announced, “Keep the doctors away until I arrive!”

Almost immediately Alexei started to recover and after Rasputin had arrived and become the boy’s regular companion he never again suffered badly from the disease.

Such unexplained ‘miracles’ significantly enhanced the self designated holy-man’s reputation both within the royal palace but also in the upper echelons of St Petersburg’s society.

Yet whilst Grigori Rasputin was adored by the Tsarina in the royal household and people were generally amazed by his mystical feats, he also began to show a far darker side of his character.

When not in the view of the royals, Rasputin was recognized as an inveterate drunk, his lechery knew no bounds and his religious meetings were becoming mainly with gullible groups of ‘ladies of the parish’ which at times verged on being described as orgies.

Meanwhile over time he began to twist the will of Tsarina Alexandra around his finger, so much so that whilst Tsar Nicholas was away at the military front during the war with Japan, the Russian government ministers began to openly question who was dictating the home and military policies, was it the Regent Tsarina or her closest advisor Rasputin.

With such rumours of Rasputin’s indiscrete behaviour and political decisions that were dragging Russia ever closer to an abyss, the Siberian holy-man was steadily becoming the arch villain of the piece. Newspapers raised cartoons of Rasputin using the Tsar and Tsarina as mere puppets and rumours even started to spread that the Tsarina was Rasputin’s secret lover.

This was the setting of the scene for the beginning of the Russian Revolution, the workers no longer believed the Tsar to be 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 the First World War began in 1917 soon followed by the revolution Rasputin was successfully assassinated by members of the wider royal family. By this time all thoughts of Rasputin being the second coming of Christ had long since evaporated, he had become the public enemy number one and everyone breathed a sigh of relief at his death. However he did leave a legacy of actions and predictions which to this day cannot be fully explained.

Firstly during his lifetime, rumours abounded that he couldn’t be killed. Actual details of his assassination make this statement appear almost true.

He also predicted before his death that if a member of the royal family was to assassinate him, then the Tsar, his wife and all of their children would soon follow, this of course did come to pass.

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

Something about Rasputin was undoubtedly larger than life. He had some unexplained powers of mystification and an effect over people that his daughter Maria described as ‘Magnetism’.

Although not formally trained in hypnotism until later in life, many of his acts from early youth infer some level of natural hypnotic power, however to characterize him as ‘The Second Coming of Christ’ would appear to have been proven to be far from the truth, although what gave him such an influence over people about him has never been successfully explained.