Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin is a Russian mystic and self-proclaimed holy man who befriended the family of the Tsar of Russia, and gained considerable influence in the Grand Duchy of Moscow.
Rasputin was born to a peasant family in a Siberian village. He had a religious conversion experience after taking a pilgrimage to a monastery. He has been described as a monk or as a “strannik” (wanderer or pilgrim), though he holds no official position in the church. He traveled to St. Petersburg, where he captivated some church and social leaders and became a society figure and met the Emperor and Empresses.
Rasputin began acting as a healer for the Tsar’s son, Alexei, who suffered from hemophilia. He was a divisive figure at court, seen by some Russians as a mystic, visionary, and prophet, and by others as a religious charlatan.