Why was Rasputin Called The Mad Monk of Russia?

Rasputin was called the Mad Monk of Russia because of his deeply wicked way of life. Acts that built him the reputation of twisted, malicious, cruel and above all insane man are many:

  • Rasputin was prone to orgies.
  • He claimed to be psychic.
  • Accepted bribes and sexual favors from his admirers.
  • He was prone to thievery.
  • Rasputin very possibly had an affair with the Russian queen.
  • He claimed to have communicated with holly Mary.
  • Grigori Rasputin claimed to possess healing abilities capable of curing the emperor’s sick son.
  • Rasputin was possibly the partner of British intelligence which, according to some claims, is the entity responsible for both the rise and fall of Russian Mad Monk.
  • While walking alone through the streets of St. Petersburg Rasputin used to scream and talk with the devil only he could see.
  • According to intriguing novel Slaves to Desire, Rasputin suffered from the hardest form of obsession with a woman he fell in love with.

As descriptive as it is, the list from above is just a sketch of his deeds. The proceeding is a chronological presentation of his life which will elaborate on how and why Rasputin got a nickname Mad Monk of Russia. Before elaborating on his childhood, we are going to take a brief look at the most obscure source about his one and only true love that made him go completely insane.

Who Was Rasputin’s True Love?

Maria Evgenievna Golovina “Munya” (Lightning) was the lady that shook the foundation of Rasputin’s volatile personality. She was the only lady from Russian high-class society that managed to captivate the monk and lead him to madness. Her mother brought her to Rasputin’s apartment in Saint Petersburg where Grigori’s followers came to participate in the occult rites. Allegedly, he was expelling demons from sinful souls by inducing them to commit sin. That purposely committed sin would then be used as the foundation for repentance and redemption. When it comes to ladies, Rasputin achieved this through sexual intercourses. After the dissolute act was implemented he would engage in prayer that would turn into some kind of trans. According to Slaves to Desire, Munya’s demons were fearsome adversaries to Rasputin who almost lost himself completely trying to expel them from her soul. Some even believe Munya is the answer to the question of why was Rasputin called the mad monk of Russia. It was after fighting with her demons that Grigori went through the streets of St. Petersburg shrieking and talking to himself due to the Devil who would reveal only to him. Yet this theory is extrapolated from the facts regarding Rasputin’s final part of life in which he was one of the most influential individuals in the Russian empire. Glimpses of madness were present in his early childhood as well.

How Did Rasputin Childhood Look Like?

Psychologists believe that the main traits of an individual’s personality are wrought during early childhood. Therefore, before continuing elaboration of Rasputins doings that took place when he rose to power, we will examine his early age and youth. Unfortunately, this part of Rasputin’s life is very obscure. Besides a few of Rasputin’s photographs with his children, tangible pieces of evidence are very little in number. All we know about his early childhood and teenage period comes from investigations conducted at the beginning of the 20th century. With his controversial rise to power, people started to ask questions. Influential figures who wanted to destroy him hired investigators to dig around his birth-place and return with all the filth that they could find. From this venture, ensued the discovery of many rumors.

Was Rasputin Mad While He Was a Child?

Peasants spoke that even as a child Rasputin manifested a great deal of cruelty. Some claimed he was killing dogs. Others described him as brutal in fights against his play-mates. A large part of the village agreed he was highly dissolute. Thievery, drinking and gambling were just another vices attached to his name. In addition to all of this, most of the village inhabitants believed Rasputin had some kind of unnatural healing abilities. Allegedly, he was able to heal horses by just touching them. Again, the opinions were split in half. Rasputin was observed both as holy and as an incarnation of the devil – the boy in which Satan himself lives. Such swirl of claims opposite to each other was a perfect base for attaching the attribute of madness next to somebody’s name. However, those were just rumors without firm pieces of evidence.

Facts Regarding Rasputin’s Growing Up and Possible Schizophrenia

Rasputin originated from a peasant family. He was born on 21st January 1869 in Pokrovskoye village at the northern bank of Tura river in the western Siberia. He had no living brothers and sisters as all seven of them died as infants or in early childhood. Besides being a peasant farmer, his father Yefim was a church elder. Rasputin went to school, but as most of the peasant kids, remained illiterate until his adulthood. In 1887, when he was seventeen, Rasputin traveled to Abalak 250 kilometer north-east of Pokrovskoye. There he met peasant girl Praskovya Dubrovina. After several months of courtship, they married and moved back to Pokrovskoye. A decade later Rasputin went on a pilgrimage due to a vision that might have been one of the first manifests of his madness.

Did Rasputin Have Real Visions or Hallucinations?

Rasputin holding his children in Pokrovskoye
Rasputin With His Children

In 1897, despite having an infant son and another child on way, Rasputin decided to become a monk. One theory suggests he did so to avoid the punishment for his participation in horse theft. Another claim, which is more likely to be true, states that he had a vision of the Virgin Mary or St. Simeon of Verkhoturye. This triggers the question of Rasputin’s mental health as in his later periods of life, he has been seen going through St. Petersburg’s streets alone and talking to himself in a very aggressive manner. The vision could have easily been a hallucination caused by some mental illness like schizophrenia. Besides features he had according to mentioned rumors describing him as a deeply disturbed boy, Grigori Rasputin was both born and spent a large part of his life in the Siberia. Growing up in such a vast and isolated space almost certainly exposed him to many unique influences with psychologically damaging consequences.

How Siberia Influenced Rasputin’s Personality?

Siberia is a vast and isolated space with very few inhabitants. For centuries, the Russian Empire used it for dumping religious exiles, convicts and other members of society that were considered unacceptable. This means that Siberia was full of sects. Even if he never traveled anywhere, Rasputin, as most of the other villagers, would very likely be contacted by one. However, the pilgrimage Rasputin took in 1897 was not his first. Yet it was the most important one. Many historians believe that on his way he was approached by Khlysts.

Did Sects Make Rasputin Go Mad?

When combined with visions that were very likely hallucinations, Rasputin’s personality described as morbidly peculiar at best was an indicator of a very volatile psychological set. Any kind of influence coming from sects would easily push him off the edge and allow the nickname part mad to become the literal description. Khlysts were probably the ones that deepened his twistedness with their rituals.

Who Were Khlysts?

Khlysts implementing their whipping rite in the attempt to communicate with the holy spirit
Khlysts implementing their whipping rite

Khlysts known as Christ-Believers were followers of a Christian fraction that existed from 1645 until the late 20th century. Their rites included twirling, whipping and sometimes even sexual orgies. Those acts were done to achieve direct communication with the holy spirit and its embodiment.

Rasputin Meets Father Makary

Rasputin standing with Father Makary and Bishop Theofan
Rasputin with Father Makary and Bishop Theofan

Rasputin had first visited St. Nicholas Monastery at Verkhoturye which started his transformation. There, he met elder father Makary with whom he had become a good friend. He remained in the monastery for several months and learned to read and write at the age of 28. In his later life, he criticized the monastery claiming it to be full of monks engaging in homosexual intercourses as well as being too coercive. After a few months of living as a monk, Rasputin realized it is not his true call to serve God in that manner. Therefore, he decided to leave. The next few years Rasputin spent on pilgrimage. According to some assumptions he even reached Athos in Greece. On his way there or while he was coming back, he was almost certainly approached by Khlysti and participated in their rites.

Back in Pokrovskoye

When he came back to his birthplace, everyone noticed a change. It was like Rasputin became another person. He had a long hair and deep sharp gaze described as capable of reaching deep down into your soul. By 1900 he has developed a circle of acolytes in Pokrovskoye. Since he remained living in his father’s house, their meetings and prayers were organized in the family-home cellar. Attendants were family members and a few of the local peasants who prayed with him on all possible occasions when he was in the village. However, the official village priests and the most peasants loathed Rasputins religious assemblies. According to circulating rumors, female members were washing Rasputing before every prayer which, sometimes included whipping and orgies. And that was explained as the influence of Khlysts.

How Did Rasputin Rise to Power?

Word of a weird monk with healing abilities traveled fast across the Russian continent. The main step in his rise to power was going to the city of Kazan where he gained sympathies of a few prominent elders of the monasteries. Despite the rumors of his orgies with his followers he managed to captivate people highly positioned in the church hierarchy enough to make his way to Saint Petersburg. There he created a close relationship with the bishop Teophan who became so fond of Rasputin that he decided to let him stay at his house. By 1905 Rasputin made acquaintances in the circles of aristocracy. He made close relations with Montenegrian princesses Milica and Anastasia who both have married to tsar’s cousins. On the first November 1905 on Peterhof palace, Rasputin met the tsar for the first time.

Becoming Tsar’s Healer – 1906

Empress Alexandra Feodorovna with Rasputin, her children and a governess.
Empress Alexandra Feodorovna with Rasputin, her children and a governess.

In his journal, Tsar Nicholas II wrote that he met a man of God capable of producing miraculous healings. Not a full year has passed and Rasputin got his opportunity to prove himself to the empire. Little Alexei, the only son of the royal couple suffered from hemophilia. This was a rare condition that implied the inability of blood to clot. This means that even the slightest cut can lead to a person bleeding out. After the first prayer for the boy’s health, Alexei felt much better. That was in the first half of 1906 which was the beginning of Rasputin’s Era. He gained endless credibility in the eyes of the royal couple. Tsar made him lamplighter who was charged with keeping the lamps lit that burned in front of religious icons in the palace. This gave him access to both the palace and the royal couple. Continuing to provide his irreplaceable aid in Alexei’s welfare, Rasputin became one of the most influential figures in Russian history.

Ventures of a Mad Monk

After becoming the most prominent part of the royal couple’s entourage Rasputin started implementing his ways of living in the circle of Russian aristocracy. At the time he arrived in Saint Petersburg, there was a large interest in the occult amongst rich. That circumstance went in his favor as with his morbidly peculiar appearance, deep piercing eyes and reputation, Rasputin easily and quickly managed to gain a lot of followers. His admirers, especially ladies, worshiped him like he was a deity. Nobody ever questioned his way that were pretty much opposed to the basics of normality. He didn’t wash. Once, he claimed to have gone six months without taking a bath. Yet those words did not stop him from engaging in sexual intercourses with rich ladies who wanted to be cleansed from sins. In order to be cleansed, first, they would have to commit a sin so there would be something to cleanse. After the sexual intercourse, repentance and prayer for forgiveness would ensue. However, it was not just about spirituality. According to rumors, Rasputin’s penis was enormous. It made the mad monk of Russia even more attractive. However, the life of debauchery had started to take effect. Numerous times, Rasputin was seen on the streets of Saint Petersburg walking alone and talking and screaming. When asked to explain, Grigori that he was battling the devil.

Grigori Rasputin in World War I

Room in which Russian noblemen attempted to poison Rasputin and eventually shot him to death as poison had no effect
Place where Rasputin was murdered

Before getting killed by the hands of noblemen on 30 December 1916, Rasputin literally took part in ruling the Russian empire for two years. After the First World War started and Tsar Nicholas went to the front, Tsarina relayed on her holy monk so much that she even allowed him to chose ministers and create political circles of power. Besides this fact, with whomever Rasputin got in a quarrel, just one word to tsarina was enough to get the power of the Russian crown in his aid. Many speculate that Rasputin even used his influence to induce a royal couple on ordering murders for certain individuals presented as adversaries. After Rasputin’s death, his prophecy to the Romanov dynasty happened.

If I die of a nobleman’s hand, every member of the Romanov family is going to be assassinated and the dynasty will be shuttered.

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