My Pilgrimage to Jerusalem (bilingual)
There are few figures in history to whom so much research, literary biographies, memoirs, novels and films have been devoted than the Siberian “wise man” Grigory Rasputin (1872-1916). Even an opera has been written about him, which was performed on the stage of City Opera in New York City. Yet Rasputin did not have a rank, title or even an official status in the court or political system of Russia. Nevertheless, his role was so great that his name became a household word, and the term “Rasputinism” became a symbol of the disintegration of ruling elite of the country.
Grigory Rasputin had a completely unique position at court: he was a “seer,” “healer” and “friend” of the Tsar’s family. It was on that basis that he interfered in matters of state. Hundreds of books have been written about Rasputin, but very few people know that Rasputin had a book of his own.
My pilgrimage to Jerusalem was published only once in Petrograd in 1915 in a print run of only 50 copies. The book was intended for the sovereign Nikolai II, to whom Rasputin had become close as a healer of the Tsarevich, the tsar’s son Alexey, who famously suffered from hemophilia.
The reasons for Rasputin’s pilgrimage to the Holy Land stemmed from a growing dissatisfaction with his influence over the Tsar. Nikolai II proposed that Rasputin leave the capital for a few months, and so in March 1911, Rasputin and a group of Russian pilgrims journeyed out for Jerusalem.
The existence of Rasputin’s book first came to our attention through a passing mention of it in the memoirs of Liberty Publishing House’s author Edward Topol. We located a rare facsimile copy of the book in the archives of the New York Public Library, and decided it was time and a worthy endeavor to reintroduce the work of the mysterious Rasputin.
My Pilgrimage to Jerusalem is bilingual English/Russian.
143 pages, with preface by the publisher