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Aug 1, 2015
Fr. Georgii Apollonovich Gapon was seeking a way to make a mark on the world by serving a noble cause.Fr. Gapon, a Russian priest who was concerned about the conditions experienced by the working and lower classes, was a charismatic speaker and effective organizer who took an interest in the poor and toiling citizens of the Russian cities.
Out of his concern for helping those struggling and in need came the "Assembly of the Russian Factory and Mill Workers of the City of St. Petersburg", otherwise known as “the Assembly,” which Gapon had headed since 1903.The Assembly was patronized by the Department of the Police and the St. Petersburg Okhrana (secret police); during 1904 the membership of the association had grown rapidly, although more radical groups saw it as being a "police union" - under government influence. The Assembly's objectives were to defend workers' rights and to elevate their moral and religious status. In the words of Fr. Gapon, this organization served as:
"…a noble endeavor, under the guidance of truly Russian educated laymen and clergy, to foster among the workers a sober, Christian view of life and to instill the principle of mutual aid, thereby helping to improve the lives and working conditions of laborers without violent disruption of law and order in their relations with employers and the government."
The Assembly served as a type of union for the workers of St. Petersburg. Depicted as strictly conservative in its support of the autocracy, the Assembly was a means of preventing revolutionary influences and appeasing the workers by striving for better conditions, hours, and pay. The Assembly would act as one of the catalysts for what would later be known as Bloody SundayBloody Sunday or Red Sunday is the name given to the events of Sunday, 22 January [O.S. 9 January] 1905 in St Petersburg, Russia, when unarmed demonstrators led by Father Georgy Gapon were fired upon by soldiers of the Imperial Guard as they marched towards the Winter Palace to present a petition to Tsar Nicholas II of Russia.