A group of religious fanatics in Russia called the Skoptzies were famous in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries for practicing self castration. Advocating chastity, they took this notion to the extreme, citing Biblical references in Matthew 19:12 ("and there be eunuchs which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake") and Luke 23:29 ("blessed are the barren"). The operations were performed by both men and women, who used razors, pieces of glass, sharpened bone, or hot irons to do the deed to themselves. The greater number of Skoptzies submitted to the "first purification," which required that they remove their own testicles and scrotum. These initiates were said to have given up the "keys of hell" but to retain the "keys to the abyss." Those who removed their penis as well were awarded the honor of "Bearers of the Imperial Seal," and these initiates of the "second purification" were considered "worthy of mounting white horses." Female members of this sect did not remove their ovaries, but mutilated their external genitalia, mammae, and nipples. The highest degree of feminine participation was the complete amputation of the breasts.