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Grigori Rasputin: Self-Proclaimed Saint

            Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin was one of the most controversial self-declared saints or holy men in modern history. He lived in Russia from 1869 through 1916. "Rasputin was born in the Tyumen district of Siberia, far away from the glittering salons in the Imperial Capital of St. Petersburg" (Bob Achinston). Even now, after being dead for years, the controversies over Rasputin's death still remain unanswered. Rasputin's teachings were not the same as the teachings of other normal saints or religions, he taught his disciples that sex, alcoholism, bribery, violence and all kinds of sins are part of human life, Rasputin taught that these things were necessary to get salvation. Rasputin was often referred to as the "mad monk" in history because of his crazy life styles and teachings, he was able to establish deep relationship with the Imperial family, and especially with Queen Alexandra Feodorovna and her son. These relationships helped him to become a prominent figure in the imperial court. Some people believed that he was responsible for the downfall of the Romonov Russian Imperial family whereas others argue that he was simply a scapegoat (Massie, K.).
             Rasputin's education was limited and he struggled to learn to read and write. Like most of the modern self-declared saints, Rasputin also realized that it was easy to influence the public with the help of magical powers, even without formal education. Rasputin also realized that most of the people around him were superstitious and exploitation of such a superstitious public was easy. Having undergone a form of religious conversion while aged eighteen, Rasputin embraced the Khlysty sect. Happily for Rasputin, the sect preached the notion that the closest relationship to God could best be achieved while exhausted from prolonged sexual engagements (Duffy).
             Rasputin's personal life was not suitable for the traditional beliefs about the life styles of a monk or saint.

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