St. Ivan the Terrible

Published May 1, 2003

A campaign by an ultra-right-wing group to canonize Czar Ivan the Terrible and the so-called “mad monk,” Gregory Rasputin, is threatening to split the Russian Orthodox Church. “Those demanding the canonization of Ivan the Terrible and Rasputin are a small but very noisy group,” said Alexander Dvorkin, a leading expert on sects in the Orthodox church. However, Moscow Patriarch Alexei said it would be impossible to make saints of 16th-century czar Ivan the Terrible, who ordered the deaths of several clergymen, and Rasputin, whose insidious influence over the family of Czar Nicholas II was a factor in the downfall of the Russian monarchy.


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