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Ivan the Terrible

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Why did Russian’s first Tsar become obsessed with paying for his sins?

How did Ivan the Terrible become Ivan the Remorseful?

Inside the Moscow’s State Historical Museum, there is an entire gallery devoted to Russia’s first Tsar, Ivan the Terrible.  On display are many things you would expect to see – Ivan’s weapons, paintings, books…and something you don’t expect to see – Ivan’s hair shirt.

For centuries, hair shirts have been worn by monks as penitence for their sins.  They are notoriously uncomfortable and wearing them causes great suffering and even bleeding.

Why would Ivan the Terrible – powerful leader and notorious tyrant – want to wear this?  

That is our Museum Secret.

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