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younger-rasputin
Image: Karl Bulla

During his many years traveling, Rasputin ventured not only through Russia but also abroad. In fact, he visited Jerusalem and even Greece, the birthplace of Orthodox Christianity. But the most important location for Rasputin’s life would turn out to be St. Petersburg, where he arrived in 1903.

russian-royal-family-romanovs
Image: Boissannas et Eggler

By this point, Rasputin had established himself as a healer and a holy man with special powers. It was this reputation that brought him to the attention of the Russian Emperor Nicholas II and his wife Alexandra Feodorovna in 1907. The couple had been desperately trying to find a cure for their son Alexei’s hemophilia, a disorder where the blood doesn’t clot as it should.

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Empress Alexandra Feodorovna with Rasputin, her children and a governess.
Image: nashaepoha.ru

Surprisingly, where the doctors and healers previously invited by the empress hadn’t succeeded, Rasputin had. To this day it’s not clear how he improved the prince’s condition. But what we do know is that Rasputin quickly became Alexei’s personal healer and an adviser to the empress.

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