Author Topic: Question: Just how often was Rasputin with the Imperial Family?  (Read 29857 times)

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Offline Belochka

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Re: Question: Just how often was Rasputin with the Imperial Family?
« Reply #15 on: June 16, 2007, 01:48:35 AM »
So why was she so committed to him? 

Rasputin became indispensable to the family’s spiritual needs, and more importantly for Alexei, he was seen to be Alexei's savior following the boy's most critical hemophiliac crises. Alexandra had associated Rasputin’s prayer vigil with the alleviation of Alexei’s condition. It was all a matter of timing. Rasputin was only summoned when the crisis had peaked and Alexei's own body began to repair itself naturally.

The family's association with Rasputin had lasted for 10 years. Their meetings were irregular and took place mostly at Anya's small house always in the mixed company of others, including the Okhrana.

Margarita
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Offline Belochka

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Re: Question: Just how often was Rasputin with the Imperial Family?
« Reply #16 on: June 16, 2007, 02:27:52 AM »
Belochka:

Here I am in the middle of the Easter Standard Time night - it is 2:30AM here.  Searching the Internet for books on Imperial Fashions.  I am not doing very well.

Thank you for the time line on the actual events.  That puts it in better perspective.

I appreciate your help as you always have the information at your fingertps  :D

Thanks for your kind words Alixz!  :)

Why did she invite him to the palace on Friday October 13, 1906? 

Exactly why that specific date was selected is not known. Rasputin sent a telegram to the Palace requesting an audience. The date may have been initially arranged by Count Frederiks or some other staff member who then sought Nikolai's approval.

This was the entry in Nikolai's Diary:

"Grigorii arrived at 6.15 and brought us a St. Simeon Verhoturskii icon. He saw the children and chatted with us until 7.15."


The meeting with Grand Duchess Olga - was that on Friday, October 13, 1906 as well?  Since Olga mentions that Rasputin went into Alexei's room to pray with him.  (for those with an aversion to Friday the 13th - what an inappropriate date!)

It must have been the same date.

I did not want to emphasize Friday the 13th. Some today may enjoy the connection but I consider that it was just like any other working day.  ;)

Margarita
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Offline ChristineM

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Re: Question: Just how often was Rasputin with the Imperial Family?
« Reply #17 on: June 16, 2007, 04:10:14 AM »
Renee Beerman was born in 1904 - so it was during the war years.   You are right, Belochka, for a young lad his memories of seeing Rasputin will have been enhanced according to the enslaught of noteriety.   

He recalled seeing Rasputin, and also regularly saw the Grand Duchesses riding out in a carriage.   When their father was at home, he usually rode alongside.   Alexandra Feodorovna was seldom present.   Renee also remembered seeing Lenin in 1917, standing on the balcony of a cinema in Tsarskoe Selo, in his usual haranguing mode.   He and his brother travelled by train into Petrograd to see Lenin 'perform' from Kschessinskaya's balcony.   

Renee Beerman told me that, at the time of the revolutions, the Feodorovsky Sobor suffered more than any other church in Tsarskoe Selo because of its close association with Rasputin NOT with the Imperial Family - with Rasputin.

I think the meetings/friendship/relationship between Alexandra Feodorovna and Grigory Efimovich were, in large measure, grossly exaggerated, firstly by disaffected members of the Imperial family and the aristocracy, then by the thugs who effected the overthrow which, in part, was facilitated by these same 'disaffected' family members and their hangers on.

tsaria

Alixz

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Re: Question: Just how often was Rasputin with the Imperial Family?
« Reply #18 on: June 16, 2007, 08:21:14 AM »
Belochka - I didn't mean to make a lot of "Friday the 13th", to me it makes no difference and since I was born on a 13th, my birthday falls on Friday every so many years.  In fact I turned 13 on Friday the 13th     ::) ::)

As I think all of  the evidence over, I find it difficult to believe that Alix was so "devoted" to a man she hardly saw.

I believe, as you do, that Rasputin's appearances at Alexei's sick bed were indeed coincidental and that when Rasputin was called, it was right about the time that the crises was abating anyway.  That is why I always put "healed" in quotation marks.

There had to be either more or less about this whole thing than we are privy to.  The more involves Alix embroidering shirts and belts and giving Rasputin "gifts".  If she saw him so little, why would she devote her energy to giving him these gifts.  And also, there are the supposed "holy or blessed" items that Rasputin sent to her.  If she saw him so little then the gifts had to have come through Anna Vyrubova (which I think we already know).

"Healing" Alexei only four times over a period of 10 years and Anna once (I admit that one is mysterious for the times, but today we know that patients who have been declared beyond hope often rally and somehow pull themselves back) does not seem, to me, to be enough to addict Alix to the man.

But if this is all there was, then it probably was "disinformation" that was put out by disaffected parties both before and after the revolution.  Could even the extended Imperial family truly get upset over three actual visits and one "long distance" "healing" over a period of ten years? Even if they didn't know of the "healing" which we suppose they didn't, why would four "visits" have caused so much commotion.  I know that they were supposed to be upset that a "common peasant" was received but the royal relatives were not, but it looks as if the "common peasant" was not received so very much.

1906 -1907- 1912- 1915.  There is a long time span between most of the "healing"

1906 - I can see this as a happy accident that might have alerted Alix to the possibility of something "spiritual" or miraculous.

1907 - Was Rasputin called in on this one?  Or was it again, a happy accident.

Now comes the long time period when we know that Rasputin removed himself from St. Petersburg for various reasons and was even asked by the Tsar to go away.  Does that mean that during this five year period Alexei had no serious or moderate attacks and was in no need of "healing".  That is a pretty impressive time period for a young hemophiliac boy.

1912 - We know that Rasputin was not at Spala.  Thus the famous telegram.  However, Alix was sufficiently "devoted" by this time to insist that a telegram be sent to him and Nicholas agreed.

Now we have a three year period of no known "intervention on Rasputin's part.

1915 - This time he was "summoned".  But after Spala that comes as no surprise.  And this would also be after Vyrubova's miracle as well.  By now, Rasputin was "on a roll".

So I am back to Alix's belief in and devotion to this "Starets".  I could see it if he was "healing" Alexei at every turn, but it is fact (I guess) that he didn't.  I know that Alix was "more Orthodox and the Orthodox".  Was it truly just his teachings and visits to Anna's house that convinced and comforted her?

Offline ChristineM

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Re: Question: Just how often was Rasputin with the Imperial Family?
« Reply #19 on: June 16, 2007, 11:30:52 AM »
You obviously must suspect another dimension Alexz.   If so, what, where and when?

tsaria

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Re: Question: Just how often was Rasputin with the Imperial Family?
« Reply #20 on: June 16, 2007, 11:38:53 AM »
from Spiridovitch's "Raspoutine"...
In early 1906, Alexandra was close to the Montenegrin Grand Duchesses, Militsa and Anastasia.  Nicholas and Alexandra spent alot of time visiting Militsa at the Znamenka Palace at Peterhof in July 1906.  They also spent time at this period with Anastasia at Sergeievka.  It was here they first met Rasputin July 18 (OS).  They also met Rasputin later at Znamenka. It was at this time that Spiridovitch's secret police investigated the "peasant with some small attraction to Their Majesties" who conducted the evening service in the little "Podvorie" church between Old Peterhof and Sergeivka.  Alexandra loved that little church and was its patroness.  The police learned that the "blue shirt" peasant in question shuttled regularly between Sergeivka and Znamenka. They felt that this little peasant priest posed no danger to the security of the Imperial family and so investigated no further.  His impression on the IF was one of a true man of God and of the people of Holy Russia.  Alexandra was very interested at this time in reading about the "Holy Men of God" who were common in Russian History, for example, Anya V. recalled how Alexander I had an attraction for Holy mysticism, and Alexandra was similarly disposed. The first book Alexandra ever gave Anya V. was "The Friends of God" in 1905.  The book essentially says how God grants certain divine grace to to pious and humble men, to do is good work on earth. Both Nicholas and Alexandra believed this.

Further, don't forget that during 1906, Bishop Theophane, The Imperial Confessor himself, was a protector and supporter of Rasputin, so WHAT better "blessing" could there be in the eyes of Nicholas and Alexandra of the truth of Rasputin's "holiness"? So combine that with the support of Militsa and Anastasia the Black.

So, it was decided by N&A that Rasputin should meet their children at some point soon.  On October 12, Nicholas received a petition letter from Yaroslav Medved, Archbishop of one of the Petersburg churces, asking that the Emporer receive the "staryets" Grigori Rasputin who was bringing a gift for him from Siberia, an icon of St. Simeon of Verkhoturie. It said that should His Majesty condescend to receive Rasputin, he should send Prince Putyatin to his home  to bring R. to the Palace for the audience. Spiridovitch says that there was no doubt in anyone's mind that Nicholas himself had given his prior blessing to this petition as a means to get R. to the Palace in a "down low" fashion (to use today's jargon).  Thus, Rasputin was summoned to Court the next day, October 13.

It was Nicholas, actually, and NOT Alexandra who brought about this first meeting.





Alixz

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Re: Question: Just how often was Rasputin with the Imperial Family?
« Reply #21 on: June 16, 2007, 11:53:17 AM »
tsaria - I'm not sure right now.  As with many readers, I always thought that Rasputin was a constant "companion" of Alix.  I thought that she and he spoke quite often and that he visited her along with Anna V at Anna V's "little house" on a regular basis.

I guess my question is this.  If Rasputin only "healed" Alexei four times and only saw him perhaps three times over the course of almost 11 years, what was it that made Alix so devoted to him?  Not just the "healing" certainly as the first time was an accident, the second time (accident of not?) but then there were five years before Spala. 

So why was Alix so certain that Rasputin could "intervene" at that time?  It wasn't as if he had been turning out miraculous "healing" on a weekly or monthly or even yearly basis  ???

So during that five year period, did Alix talk to him?  Did she get reports of miraculous doings?  Something is missing here. During that time, Alix had to have received some kind of "proof" of Rasputin's powers and I think she was too smart to just believe in court gossip or general rumor.

I understand the war years because Spala had happened by then and then there was Vyrubova's accident and also Alexei's nosebleed.  By the second year of the war when Alix pressed Nicholas to take command of the troops, Rasputin had her completely.  Even to the point of strengthening her conviction against Grand Duke Nicholas Nicholaevich (who by that time was married to Anastasia Montenegro who had spurned Rasputin and moved away from his influence)

I guess I am hunting for a clue as to what happened during the first seven years besides one "accidental" healing and the 1907 event.

FA  That makes sense that Nicholas would be the one to issue the first invitation although he didn't initiate it as he was asked by Medved to receive the "staryets".
« Last Edit: June 16, 2007, 12:01:38 PM by Alixz »

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Re: Question: Just how often was Rasputin with the Imperial Family?
« Reply #22 on: June 16, 2007, 02:46:54 PM »
Alixz
Using Spiridovitch's bio, here is a brief "precis" of the years in question for you:
1908: Rasputin's popularity with the people of Petersburg surges and he gains his admirers, most particularly Vyroubova.  He spends most of the summer at Tsarskoe Selo staying at the homes of some Guards officers, there were several visits to the Palace to meet with the IF. During this period, Alexandra attributed the good health of the Tsarevich directly TO Rasputin's prayers and intercession with God on his behalf.  He was at Vyroubova's regularly and Nicholas and Alexandra went there "more than once" to listen to him preach. Sorry no exact count.

Winter early 1909- this is interesting. Spirid. says that he met often with a certain Dr. Fischer, the best psychiatrist then at Tsarskoe Selo who was treating Alexandra. He diagnosed Alexandra even then as suffering from "extreme nervousness", particularly as a result of her closeness to Vyroubova. He went so far as to advise the Emperor to distance his wife from Vyroubova (and thus Rasputin as well).  Alexandra was so upset that she "fired" Dr. Fischer. Spirid. says that after this "Rasputin stayed in close contact with the Imperial Palace, the primary reason being, at that time, the state of health of both the Empress and Tsarevich."

Stolypin brought his first report on Rasputin's behavior with prostitutes to Nicholas, who "made a joke of the affair." Rasputin went back to Tobolsk in late 1908, after Okhrana chief Guerassimov issued an arrest warrant for Rasputin and have him removed from TS and Petersburg.  There appears to be some evidence that Rasputin was 'tipped off' in advance.

In 1909, Stolypin again brings a report of the investigations into Rasputin to Nicholas' attention. When Nicholas had the report investigated it turned out to be full of false negative information about Rasputin.  Nicholas tells Stolypin "Peter Arkadievich, I must ask you to never bring up this matter again.  He is a holy man. This is a family matter which is our personal affair." Nicholas then orders the Okhrana to stop investigating Rasputin.

Late 09 early 1910 Rasputin spent travelling, Alexandra wrote him letters regularly.  This is when Tyutcheva and Vishnakova complain of Rasputin's lewd behavior toward them.  Father Iliodore and Bishop Theophane defended Rasputin to the Emperor and Empress. They side with the Church. Thus, Nicholas and Alexandra decide that Rasputin should become their "confessor". Bishop Hermogene and Father Iliodore teach him his lessons to prepare him.
August -November the IF is in Germany

Early 1911 - the scandal in Tsaritsine sends Rasputin back to Pokrovskoe.  Nicholas sends Capt. Mandryka of his personal Guards to Pokrovskoe to Tsaritsin.  At Tsaritsin, all of the religous people tell Mandryka with enthousiasm how they are often visited by the "Tsar's favorite" Father Grigori, who always told them how much he loved the Emperor, the Empress and their children and how he was often received at the Palace.  The local authorities told him however that R. was a Khlysti, debauched, who seduced young girls and abused women "possessed by demons."  He returned on Feb. 10, mardi gras day, to report back to the IF. He hid none of the scandal he had heard from his report, and burst into tears saying "I must tell you, that this is the person who enjoys the favor of Your Majesties."
Nicholas then orders that Rasputin shall never appear before him again.

Rasputin then goes on pilgrimages across Russia and to Palestine.  During this time Father Iliodore influences the Emperor to be more benevolent towards Rasputin. In fact, it was the prolonged absence of Rasputin away from Nicholas and Alexandra that had the actual affect to bring him closer to them. Rasputin writes them regularly. Nicholas pardons Rasputin. They receive Rasputin upon his return from Jerusalem.  He travels to Tsaritsin for several months. He is also then in Kiev, when Stolypin is murdered. Rasputin is invited to Yalta for the Emperor's birthday on December 6.  He returns to Petersburg several weeks later.

1912 Scandals break as the press begins to use letters and photographs of Alexandra and the Grand Duchesses to imply Rasputin was having sexual relation with them all. More reports about Rasputin are presented to Nicholas by Rodzianko. Finally, in March, the IF invites Rasputin to go with them to the Crimea. They had made up their minds. Rasputin goes to Pokrovskoe and the IF goes to Bielovezh and Spala. We know what happens from there.

Hope this helps.


Offline Helen

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Re: Question: Just how often was Rasputin with the Imperial Family?
« Reply #23 on: June 16, 2007, 04:10:40 PM »
Alixz, if you're looking for 'an other dimension' to understand Rasputin's influence better, you may be interested to read Janet Ashton's article The Religious Outlook of Russia's Last Empress (http://www.bl.uk/collections/eblj/2006/article4.html). 
"The Correspondence of the Empress Alexandra of Russia with Ernst Ludwig and Eleonore, Grand Duke and Duchess of Hesse. 1878-1916"  -  http://www.bod.de/index.php?id=296&objk_
"Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig and Princess Alix of Hesse and by Rhine in Italy - 1893"

Alixz

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Re: Question: Just how often was Rasputin with the Imperial Family?
« Reply #24 on: June 17, 2007, 09:58:12 AM »
FA - thank you so much for the translation of Spiridovitch.  I knew there had to be more to the story that "just three or four 'healings'"

There was much social and written interaction between Alix and Rasputin from at least 1908 on.  It is not only Rasputin's visits directly to the Alexander Palace but his visits to Anna's house where he met with Nicholas and Alix.  I thought that Alix couldn't have been so devoted to someone with whom she had had no contact from 1907 to 1912 and, in the beginning of my research anyway, that is the way it looked.

I find the "firing" of Dr. Fischer interesting as well.  This is the first overt sign of Alix "eliminating" the influence of a person who advised against Rasputin's presence.  The presages the hiring and firing of ministers during the war.

Also, if Rasputin was their "confessor" then they say him quite regularly.  I don't know a lot about Orthodoxy, but wouldn't the family have "confession" quite often in order to receive the sacrament?

Also from Spiridovitch we find out that Rasputin "traveled" with the family and stayed at other Imperial residences such a Livadia.

However, FA, Nicholas's birthday was in May not in December was Spiridovitch incorrect in his reporting of that particular invitation?

Helen:  Thank you for the suggestion.  That article sounds very interesting.  Because I know that Alix became "more Orthodox than the Orthodox" and it would be interesting to see how Ms Ashton explains it.


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Re: Question: Just how often was Rasputin with the Imperial Family?
« Reply #25 on: June 17, 2007, 10:26:00 AM »
Alixz

Two points. Rasputin was not the ONLY confessor to the Emperor and Empress, there were at least three that I can find, all at the same time.

The December date is Nicholas' name day, Spiridovitch was using the same term as birthday, which Russians do quite often since both celebrations in Imperial times were exactly the same importance.  That translation is not a direct passage, but rather the synthesis of about 150-200 pages of the book which took me about 3 hours to go through and I wasn't really paying attention to the December date. Thanks for reminding me.

The general feeling I got from going through those pages was that equally important to the actual amount of time Rasputin may have spent with the Empress over those five years, which wasn't really a large percentage of time, literally a total of hours equal to perhaps a few days over five years, but rather the BELIEF that Alexandra had, very deep seated that Rasputin was actually a holy humble man given special grace by God to do his work on earth, THAT to me and Spiridovitch trumps any actual contact the two had.



Alixz

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Re: Question: Just how often was Rasputin with the Imperial Family?
« Reply #26 on: June 17, 2007, 10:56:14 AM »
FA - I had forgotten about the "name day" - Thank you.

And also, thank you for taking all of that time to go through Spiridovitch's work for me.  Has his work ever been published in English - I haven't heard of anyone say that it had been.

Alix's belief in Rasputin is, of course, very important, but I was trying to find out why she believed in him so much.  If she hadn't had much interaction with him, I couldn't understand the fascination.  But the fact that she attributed her health and her son's to his close presence and intervention during those five years makes much more sense of the Spala incident.

The fact that he "travelled" with them and visited them at other palaces also makes sense.  And that she wrote copious letters to him while Rasputin was travelling shows that she was "constantly" in touch with him even though he was not in St. Petersburg.

The first "accidental" calming on October 13, 1906 probably "peaked" her interest and since she was looking for the "true Russian" he fit the bill as well.  Do we know if the second incident in 1907 was "accidental" (meaning did he just happen to be there as on October 13, 1906)  as well or was she in the habit of calling him by then?

And during that five year period from 1907 to 1912, there seem to be no major "healings" but it now seems that Alix was never out of contact with Rasputin whether he was in St. Petersburg or on his "travels". And perhaps there were other "long distance 'healings'" during that time, not a spectacular as Spala, but important enough to reinforce Alix's fervent belief.

So by 1910 Rasputin was one of several confessors.  I always thought that the Imperial family members had one special confessor that they kept by them.  As in Alexander III sending his "personal confessor" to begin Alix's religious instruction after the engagement.

Thank you everyone for your contributions to this thread.   :D

Offline Belochka

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Re: Question: Just how often was Rasputin with the Imperial Family?
« Reply #27 on: June 17, 2007, 07:42:44 PM »
... Alix's belief in Rasputin is, of course, very important, but I was trying to find out why she believed in him so much. 

Alexandra understood and agreed with the simplicity of Rasputin's spiritual counselling. Added to her belief that Rasputin soothed her son each time he was called upon, Alexandra had the perfect combination which no ordained clergy was able to provide after St. John of Kronshtadt's death in 1908.

The important fact is that Alexandra believed in him, and as a mother with a child with an incurable condition she was always comforted by his unique spiritual guidance.

Few outsiders would ever understand the role Rasputin played in the Court, because that association was veiled in the strictest of confidences.

Margarita
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Alixz

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Re: Question: Just how often was Rasputin with the Imperial Family?
« Reply #28 on: June 17, 2007, 11:37:23 PM »
I do understand Alix's belief and it was unquestioning.

However, many have made the point that actual physical visits were few.  I couldn't see how anyone could build a belief in an other's 'healing" powers if one had not actually seen the results of those powers. Perhaps a belief in his "teachings" and vision of God and man's relationship with Him, but not the fervent belief that Rasputin held Alexei's life in his hands.

That is why I was trying to discover just how many times Rasputin had visited Alix and Alexei.  I think, in the beginning, that we were only looking at the times when Rasputin "intervened" and/or visited the Alexander Palace.

However, Rasputin was invited to spend time with the IF at other locations and to celebrate name days and holidays.  Which probably meant that other family members were also present and that it was not a "private" visit and so we over looked these times.  And there was the constant written communication (although Rasputin must have had someone writing for him as he was illiterate) during the times when he was travelling or had been sent away.

But Rasputin must have been one heck of a religious "salesman".  His brand of comfort and religious interpretation certainly appealed to Alix and, at first, to Nicholas.  Obviously Nicholas came to a parting of the ways with Rasputin, but by that time Alix was so indoctrinated that Nicholas knew he had to put up and shut up.  As he said (and this is a paraphrase) one Rasputin is better than ten hysterical out breaks from Alix.

How hard it must have been for Nicholas.  We always focus on Alix and the difficulties she faced as the mother of a hemophiliac, but poor Nicholas, not only the father of a hemophiliac, but the husband of an hysterical woman.  A woman he loved above all other things, even his throne.  And while he would not blame Alix for transmitting hemophilia to Alexei, he could not comfort her and take the burden away from her either. 

For all of his earthly power, Nicholas could do nothing for his wife or his son.  And I just realized that knowing this, Alix would have no where else to turn except to God and to "a man of God".  Alix truly believed that the common Russian was more Russian than the elite and so Rasputin was the perfect presence and the perfect time.

Someone wrote (and I don't remember who) that Rasputin at the Alexander Palace would be like Og visiting the White House.   But it is not the same at all.  And in mystical Byzantine Russia it made all the sense in the world.




Offline ChristineM

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Re: Question: Just how often was Rasputin with the Imperial Family?
« Reply #29 on: June 18, 2007, 07:34:26 AM »
Firstly, thank you Alixz for raising this very interesting - historically important and relevant - topic.   Thanks a million FA for taking the time to source such valuable information.   Lots of food for thought in there.

One point of note in particular, and, I hasten to add, I am not implying anything at all conspiratorial... isn't it an amazing coincidence that Rasputin was in Kiev at the time of the Stolypin assassination.   Was this purely because he maintained a close proximity to the Imperial Family, in case of emergencies, because of the totally unpredictable nature of the Tsarevich's illness?   I think this fact indicates there is much more to this subject than, probably, we will ever really know.

tsaria