by Stephen Whitney

This content is part of a series.

A Death Dance (4 of 8)
Series: John the Baptist
Stephen Whitney
Mark 6:17-29

In December 1741, thirteen-year-old Peter was designated as successor to the throne of Russia. His mother's sister Elizabeth
made the decree. Four years later, she commanded Peter to marry
Princess Sophia Frederica. He was seventeen, she was sixteen.
There ages was the only similarity between them.

Princess Sophia was brilliant, independent and fun-loving. Peter
was dim-witted, moody and childlike. He became Czar Peter III,
the grandson of Peter the Great, in 1762 at the age of thirty-three.

Peter delegated the responsibility of governing Russia to the nobility which they used for their own advantage. He had the
ability of getting on people's nerves and he infuriated the clergy
by allowing the government to intrude into church affairs.

He even managed to alienate the one friend on whom he might have counted - his wife, Sophia. She tolerated Peter's threats of divorce and his arrant behavior. The one thing she couldn't accept was his disloyalty to Russia itself.

The problem was Peter's identification crisis with the king of
Prussia, Frederick the Great. Peter probably would have given
all of Russia to Frederick, if he had continued to reign. Sophia
made certain that he had as little time as possible.

With her aid - and some say by her orders - a cope d'etat was
carried out against Peter. Only six months after inheriting the
throne, Peter abdicated it. A week later, he was assassinated.

There is considerable historical evidence that Sophia had Peter
killed. Of course, she became empress of Russia. You remember
her, not by her name Sophia, but by the name she later chose:
Catherine. The history books call her "Catherine the Great."

Power corrupts because people use it to get what they want.
People will use their power, position or influence to change things
for their own advantage regardless of what it does to someone else.

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