Blog Archive

Monday, December 31, 2007

An extranet is a private network that uses Internet protocols, network connectivity, and possibly the public telecommunication system to securely share part of an organization's information or operations with suppliers, vendors, partners, customers or other businesses. An extranet can be viewed as part of a company's Intranet that is extended to users outside the company (e.g.: normally over the Internet). It has also been described as a "state of mind" in which the Internet is perceived as a way to do business with a preapproved set of other companies business-to-business (B2B), in isolation from all other Internet users. In contrast, business-to-consumer (B2C) involves known server(s) of one or more companies, communicating with previously unknown consumer users.
Briefly, an extranet can be understood as a private intranet mapped onto the Internet or some other transmission system not accessible to the general public, but is managed by more than one company's administrator(s). For example, military networks of different security levels may map onto a common military radio transmission system that never connects to the Internet. Any private network mapped onto a public one is a virtual private network (VPN). In contrast, an intranet is a VPN under the control of a single company's administrator(s).
An argument has been made that "extranet" is just a buzzword for describing what institutions have been doing for decades, that is, interconnecting to each other to create private networks for sharing information. One of the differences that characterized an extranet, however, is that its interconnections are over a shared network rather than through dedicated physical lines. With respect to Internet Protocol networks, RFC 2547 states "If all the sites in a VPN are owned by the same enterprise, the VPN is a corporate intranet. If the various sites in a VPN are owned by different enterprises, the VPN is an extranet. A site can be in more than one VPN; e.g., in an intranet and several extranets. We regard both intranets and extranets as VPNs. In general, when we use the term VPN we will not be distinguishing between intranets and extranets. Even if this argument is valid, the term "extranet" is still applied and can be used to eliminate the use of the above description."
Another very common use of the term "extranet" is to designate the "private part" of a website, where "registered users" can navigate, enabled by authentication mechanisms on a "login page".

Extranet Security
During the late 1990s and early 2000s, several industries started to use the term "extranet" to describe central repositories of shared data made accessible via the web only to authorized members of particular work groups.
For example, in the construction industry, project teams could login to and access a 'project extranet' to share drawings and documents, make comments, issue requests for information, etc. In 2003 in the United Kingdom, several of the leading vendors formed the Network of Construction Collaboration Technology Providers, or NCCTP, to promote the technologies and to establish data exchange standards between the different systems. The same type of construction-focused technologies have also been developed in the United States, Australia, Scandinavia, Germany and Belgium, among others. Some applications are offered on a Software as a Service (SaaS) basis by vendors functioning as Application service providers (ASPs).
Specially secured extranets are used to provide virtual data room services to companies in several sectors (including law and accountancy).
There are a variety of commercial extranet applications, some of which are for pure file management, and others which include broader collaboration and project management tools. Also exist a variety of Open Source extranet applications and modules, which can be integrated into other online collaborative applications such as Content Management Systems.

Industry uses

Extranets can be expensive to implement and maintain within an organization (e.g.: hardware, software, employee training costs) — if hosted internally instead of via an ASP.
Security of extranets can be a big concern when dealing with valuable information. System access needs to be carefully controlled to avoid sensitive information falling into the wrong hands.
Extranets can reduce personal contact (face-to-face meetings) with customers and business partners. This could cause a lack of connections made between people and a company, which hurts the business when it comes to loyalty of its business partners and customers.

Friday, December 28, 2007

The Indians' move to "The Jake" coincided with the coming of age of an outstanding young team, and the Indians soon became the hottest ticket in Cleveland. The ballpark set a major league record between 1995 and early 2001 by selling out 455 straight games. Demand for tickets was so great that they sold out all 81 home games before opening day on three separate occasions. The Indians "retired" the number 455 in honor of this outstanding record. "455 THE FANS" has been placed in lettering on a wall in the right field GA in commemoration.

Ballpark firsts
A look at the front of Jacobs field in April, 2003.
Jacobs Field The scoreboard at Jacobs Field, featuring one of the largest video screens in the world.
Jacobs Field Looking in from behind the right-center field bullpen at Jacobs Field.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Self-awareness is the explicit understanding that one exists. Furthermore, it includes the concept that one exists as an individual, separate from other people, with private thoughts. It may also include the understanding that other people are similarly self-aware. Self-awareness remains a critical mystery in philosophy, psychology, biology, and artificial intelligence.
Self-consciousness is credited with the development of identity (see the self). In an epistemological sense, self-consciousness is a personal understanding of the very core of one's own identity. It is during periods of self-consciousness that people come the closest to knowing themselves objectively. Jean Paul Sartre describes self-consciousness as being "non-positional", in that it is not from any location in particular.
Self-consciousness plays a large role in behavior, as it is common to act differently when people "lose one's self in a crowd". It is the basis for human traits, such as accountability and conscientiousness. Self-consciousness affects people in varying degrees, as some people self-monitor (or scrutinize) themselves more than others. Different cultures vary in the importance they place on self-consciousness.

Self-awareness contrasted with self-consciousness
Human self-awareness leads us to recognize three core features of the human condition:
Consciousness and self-awareness are poorly understood. Self-awareness is a unique type of consciousness in that it is not always present, and is not sought after. Meditation or repetitive tasks, as well as some schools of thought in art theory and existentialism seek to reduce self-consciousness, and even self-awareness, at least temporarily.
The ability to self-analyze (or scrutinize) is widely believed among psychologists not to develop until mid-childhood, and arguably is present in only a few species of animals . Tests that are usually considered as representative of self-consciousness include applying a bright dot to a subject's forehead, and then placing them in front of a mirror — if they reach for their own forehead, it appears they may realize their own existence in a self-aware sense. Great apes, dolphins and elephants can pass this test. However, others criticize this test as testing only the understanding of the duplicability of image, and not especially meaningful as a way of gauging self-consciousness.
Suffering in Zen Buddhist philosophy is caused by attaching firmly to the narrow conception of an unchanging self in a vast impermanent setting. Once one is aware of this shackle, one can begin to understand the self from a more objective perspective.
The philosopher Ludwig Feuerbach's theory of religion was based upon projection deriving from a Hegelian sense of self consciousness.

The human imagination has no physical boundaries, but our bodies do. In our minds, we can instantly travel to the ends of the universe, the center of the earth, even the center of the sun. We can use our mental microscope to visualize germs, viruses, atoms, quarks. As soon as we detect something with any instrument, we can make images of it in our minds. We travel effortlessly in our thoughts. The boundless production of fiction literature is evidence of the creative powers of the human imagination. Yet physically we are bound to one specific, small planet, and due to the speed limit of the universe (speed of light), it appears that we are bound to a small neighborhood around this planet for the foreseeable future. This paradox is the physical frustration of the human condition.
Human spirits can motivate the noblest and holiest thoughts, the most altruistic actions, the most beneficial generosities. But they can also produce the most horrible cruelties and violence against countless people, including suicide of the perpetrators. Our will effortlessly moves our thoughts one way and then another, untamed by moral law or conscience. Leaders can sway whole populations to do things -- benevolent or malevolent -- that individuals would never, on their own, have contemplated. How can these two extremes coexist in the same individual? We don't observe such extremes in other animals. They are exclusive to the human condition.
Human actions and our very lives are motivated by hope -- that we can make a difference, that we can learn and grow and build and make things better. Yet physically speaking we know that we are mortal, we are made of dust, and we will return to dust. Despite this realization, hope springs eternal. Without hope, as Albert Camus said, the only serious philosophical question is why we should not commit suicide. Hope gets us up in the morning, and drives us forward every day. Aspirations -- for hope, meaning, significance, purpose, identity, peace, happiness, beauty, love -- are all aspects of human spirituality. Self aware Self-awareness
The term self conscious has a different meaning in colloquial use, namely a person who is worried or apprehensive how they may appear to others. It is widely believed that this trait is most present during the teenage years.
When one is feeling self-conscious, one can feel too aware of even the smallest of one's own actions. Such awareness can impair one's ability to perform complex actions. For example, a piano player may "choke", lose confidence, and even lose the ability to perform when they notice the audience. As self-consciousness fades one may regain the ability to focus. (See The Look)
A person who is especially prone to self-consciousness may be labeled shy or introverted. Work has been done in the area of flow psychology – attempts to escape self-consciousness. Buddhism, as well as some schools of thought in art theory and existentialism also aim to reduce self-consciousness, at least temporarily.
Unlike self-awareness, self-consciousness has connotations of being unpleasant, and is often linked to self-esteem. Self-consciousness is credited with the development of identity, because it is during periods of self-consciousness that people come the closest to knowing themselves objectively. Self-consciousness plays a large role in behavior, as it is common to act differently when people "lose themselves in a crowd". Self-consciousness affects people in varying degrees, as some people are in constant self-monitoring, while others are completely oblivious about themselves.

The basis of personal identity
A functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) experiment by Ilan Goldberg et al. (April 19, 2006) in Neuron (vol 50, p 329) has demonstrated the functional separation of sensory processing and self-awareness. Self-awareness appears to be processed in the superior frontal gyrus.

Self-awareness in theater

Cartesian theater
Feldenkrais Method
Memory suppression
Yoga Nidra

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Jazzmatazz may be a reference to:
An album from the Jazzmatazz series of recordings from the musician known as Guru, including:
Alternatively, it may be a reference to:
Jazzmatazz, Vol. 1
Jazzmatazz, Vol. 2: The New Reality
Jazzmatazz, Vol. 3: Street Soul
Jazzmatazz, Vol. 4: The Hip-Hop Jazz Messenger: Back To The Future
Jazzmatazz, a web portal with information on upcoming jazz releases, concerts, as well as running capsule reviews of jazz recordings.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Although the present station building is in the International Modern style, Euston was the first inter-city railway station to be built in London.
The station and the railway that it served experienced several changes in management, being owned in turn by the London and Birmingham Railway (1837–1845), the London and North Western Railway (1846–1922), the London, Midland and Scottish Railway (1923–1947), British Railways (1948–1994), Railtrack (1994–2001) and Network Rail (2001–)

The original station was opened on July 20, 1837, as the terminus of the London and Birmingham Railway constructed by Robert Stephenson. It was designed by a well-known classically trained architect, Philip Hardwick. A short road called Euston Grove ran from Euston Square towards the arch. Two hotels, the Euston Hotel and the Victoria Hotel, flanked the northern half of this approach.
Apart from the lodges on Euston Road and statues now on the forecourt, few relics of the old station survive. The National Railway Museum's collection at York includes a commemorative plaque and E.H. Bailey's statue of George Stephenson, both from the Great Hall, the entrance gates and an 1846 LNWR turntable discovered during demolition.

Old building
In the early 1960s it was decided that the old building was no longer adequate and needed replacing. Amid much public outcry the old station building (including the famous Euston Arch) was demolished in 1962 and replaced by a new building, which opened in 1968. Its opening coincided with the electrification of the West Coast Main Line, and the new structure was deliberately intended to symbolise the coming of the "electric age".
The modern station is a long, low structure with a frontage of some 647 ft. Part of the station building includes two office towers that look out onto adjacent Melton Street and Eversholt Street, and are home to Network Rail. All of these buildings are in a functional style and the main facing material is polished dark stone, which is complemented with white tiles, exposed concrete and plain glazing. The station has a single large concourse populated with the usual assortment of shops and eateries, and is separate from the train shed. A couple of small remnants of the older station were kept, two Portland stone entrance lodges and a war memorial on Euston Road, but were hardly an effective sop to those offended by the loss of the former building. A statue of Robert Stephenson by Carlo Marochetti that stood in the old ticket hall now stands in the forecourt where it looks down on a convenience food stall. The frontage of the station building is hidden behind office buildings designed by Richard Seifert and a bus station. There is a large statue by Eduardo Paolozzi named Piscator at the front of the courtyard. A series of other pieces of public art including low stone benches by Paul de Monchaux around the courtyard were commissioned by Network Rail in the 1990s.
Euston is regarded by some as ugly and unpleasant

New building
Following privatisation of the railways in the 1990s, the station was taken over by Railtrack and was subsequently transferred to Network Rail. In 2005 Network Rail was reported to have long-term aspirations to redevelop the station, removing the 1960s buildings and providing a great deal more commercial space by utilising the "airspace rights" above the platforms, but there are many major office projects in London at a more advanced stage of planning, so this project is unlikely to proceed for many years.
In December 2005 Network Rail announced plans to create a subway link between the station and Euston Square tube station as part of the re-development of Euston station, creating a direct link between the two Euston stations which at the moment are separated by a five minute walk along Euston Road.
On 5th April 2007 British Land announced they had won the tender to demolish the existing 40 year old building and rebuild the terminal. Spending some £250m of their overall redevelopment budget of £1bn for the area. As a result the number of platforms will increase from 18 to 21.

London Euston Privatisation

Main article: Euston tube stationLondon Euston See also

Monday, December 24, 2007

Action T4 (German: Aktion T4) was a program in Nazi Germany officially between 1939 and 1941, during which the regime of Adolf Hitler systematically killed between 75,000 to 250,000 people with intellectual or physical disabilities. Unofficially performed after 1941, the killing became less systematic.

Hitler had always been in favour of killing those whose lives he judged to be "unworthy of life." Both his physician, Dr Karl Brandt, and the head of the Reich Chancellery, Hans Lammers, testified after the war that Hitler had told them in 1933, at the time the sterilization law was passed, that he favoured killing the incurably ill, but recognized that public opinion would not accept this. Catholic institutions, which could be expected to bitterly resist the killing of their patients, were progressively closed and their inmates transferred to already overcrowded state institutions, where the squalid conditions provided further ammunition for campaigns in favour of "euthanasia."

Killing of children
Brandt and Bouhler soon developed plans to expand the program to adults. In July 1939 they had held a meeting attended by Dr Leonardo Conti, Reich Health Leader and state secretary for health in the Interior Ministry, and Professor Werner Heyde, head of the SS medical department. This meeting had made preliminary arrangements for a national register of all institutionalized people with mental illnesses or physical disabilities.
The first adults with disabilities to be killed by the Nazi regime were not however Germans but Poles, as the SS men of Einsatzkommando 16 cleared the hospitals and mental asylums of the "Wartheland", a region of western Poland which was earmarked for incorporation into Germany and resettlement by ethnic Germans following the German conquest of Poland. In the Danzig (now Gdańsk) area, some 7,000 Polish inmates of various institutions were shot, while 10,000 were killed in the Gdynia area. Similar measures were taken in other areas of Poland destined for incorporation into Germany. He described how the inmates of various asylums were removed and transported by bus to Hartheim. Some were in no mental state to know what was happening to them, but many were perfectly sane and for them various forms of deception were used. They were told they were at a special clinic where they would receive improved treatment, and were given a brief medical examination on arrival. They were then induced to enter what appeared to be a shower block, where they were gassed with carbon monoxide (this ruse was later used on a much larger scale at the extermination camps).

Killing of adults
Hitler and his colleagues were aware from the start that a program of killing large numbers of Germans with disabilities would be unpopular with the German public. Although Hitler had a fixed policy of not issuing written instructions for policies relating what would later be classed as crimes against humanity Kershaw estimates that by the end of 1941 75,000 to 100,000 people had been killed as a result of the program, but that further tens of thousands of concentration camp inmates, and people judged incapable of work, were killed in Germany between 1942 and 1945 (this figure does not include the Jews who were deported to their deaths in 1942 and 1943). Hartheim, for example, continued to kill people sent to it from all over Germany until 1945.

In December 1946, an American military tribunal (commonly called the Doctors Trial) tried 23 doctors and administrators for their roles in war crimes and crimes against humanity. These crimes included the systematic killing of those deemed "unworthy of life," including the mentally retarded, the institutionalized mentally challenged, and the physically impaired. After 140 days of proceedings, including the testimony of 85 witnesses and the submission of 1,500 documents, in August 1947 the court pronounced 16 of the defendants guilty. Seven were sentenced to death and executed on 2 June 1948. They included Dr Karl Brandt and Viktor Brack.
The indictment read in part:
14. Between September 1939 and April 1945 the defendants Karl Brandt, Blome, Brack, and Hoven unlawfully, willfully, and knowingly committed crimes against humanity, as defined by Article II of Control Council Law No. 10, in that they were principals in, accessories to, ordered, abetted, took a consenting part in, and were connected with plans and enterprises involving the execution of the so called "euthanasia" program of the German Reich, in the course of which the defendants herein murdered hundreds of thousands of human beings, including German civilians, as well as civilians of other nations. The particulars concerning such murders are set forth in paragraph 9 of count two of this indictment and are incorporated herein by reference.
Also in 1945, seven staff members of the Hadamar institute were tried for the killing of Soviet and Polish nationals, but not for the large-scale killing of German nationals at the institute. Alfons Klein, Karl Ruoff and Wilhelm Willig were sentenced to death and executed, the other four were given long prison sentences.[1]
Philipp Bouhler and Leonardo Conti killed themselves in captivity in May 1945, while Dr Ernst-Robert Grawitz killed himself shortly before the fall of Berlin. Dr Friedrich Menneke died in 1947 while awaiting trial. Paul Nitsche was tried and executed by an East German court in 1948. Werner Heyde, after having escaped detection for 18 years, killed himself in 1964 before being brought to trial. Dr Heinrich Gross escaped justice.

T-4 Euthanasia Program Postwar events
The program is commonly described as one of "euthanasia," and this expression was used at the time by some of the officials responsible for carrying the program out, but it had little in common with euthanasia as this term is usually defined. It was not motivated by concern for the welfare of the people concerned or by a desire to release them from suffering – most of those killed were not suffering. It was carried out primarily according to the dictates of "racial hygiene" ideology, and secondarily to reduce the cost to the state of maintaining people with disabilities at a time when the overwhelming financial priority of the regime was rearmament. It was nearly always carried out without the consent of the people concerned or their families.
Professor Robert Lifton, author of The Nazi Doctors and a leading authority on the T4 program, makes clear the difference between this program and genuine euthanasia. He explains that the Nazi version of "euthanasia" was based on the work of Adolf Jost, who published The Right to Death (Das Recht auf den Tod) in 1895. Lifton writes: "Jost argued that control over the death of the individual must ultimately belong to the social organism, the state. This is in direct opposition to the Anglo-American concept of euthanasia, which emphasizes the individual's "right to die" or "right to death" or "right to his or her own death," as the ultimate human claim. In contrast, Jost was pointing to the state's right to kill."


Sunday, December 23, 2007

Irish Ice Hockey League
The Irish Ice Hockey League is an amateur ice hockey league in Ireland.
From 2007 the league consisted of five teams:
Teams to have previously competed in the league include:

The Belfast Bruins
The Dublin Rams
The Flyers IHC
The Dundalk Bulls
The Latvian Hawks (representing the Latvian community in Ireland)
Dublin Flyers (est. 1987)
Dublin Druids
Dublin Stags (est. 1982)
Dundonald Redwings
The Halifax Hockey Club

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Seasons in Scottish football
The following articles detail the major results and events during all Seasons in Scottish football since 1890, when the Scottish Football League was formed. Each article provides the final league tables for that season, with the exception of the current one, as well as details on cup results, Scotland national football team results and a summary of other important events during the season.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Putte Wickman
Putte Wickman (10 September 192414 February 2006) was one of the world's leading jazz clarinetists.
He was born Hans Olof Wickman in Falun, and grew up in Borlänge, Sweden, where his parents hoped he would become a lawyer. He nagged them to allow him to go to high school in Stockholm. When he arrived in the capital he still did not know what jazz was, and said in an interview many years later he was probably the only 15 year old who did not. Since he did not have access to a piano in Stockholm, he was given a clarinet by his mother as a Christmas present - a life changing event, as it turned out, as by then he had started to hang out with "the worst elements in the class - those with jazz records".
Artie Shaw and Benny Goodman were the role models for the young Wickman, who, already in 1944, had turned to music full time. He was taken on as band leader at Stockholm's Nalen and in 1945 the newly-founded Swedish newspaper the Expressen described him as the country's foremost clarinet player. Like many other distinctive artists, Putte Wickman considered himself self-taught; he had never taken a classes on the instrument.
He led his own band at Nalen for 11 years and during the 1960s he ran the big band at Gröna Lund, and at Puttes, the club he part-owned, at Hornstull in Stockholm. In interviews in his later years it was clear that he rated his church performances very highly. He was until shortly before his death still active as a musician, giving concerts every year. The technique and tone was still of the highest class, as was the well-pressed suit with a white handkerchief in the breast pocket.
In 1994, Wickman received the Illis Quorum gold medal, today the highest award that can be conferred upon an individual Swedish citizen by the Government of Sweden. Putte Wickman was a member of the Royal Swedish Musical Academy.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Coordinates: 51°30′37″N, 0°5′09″W
The Monument to the Fire of London, more commonly known as The Monument, is a 61-metre (202-foot) tall stone Roman doric column in the City of London, near to the northern end of London Bridge. It is located at the junction of Monument Street and Fish Street Hill, 61-metre (202 feet) from where the Great Fire of London started in 1666. Monument tube station is named after The Monument.
It consists of a large fluted Doric column built of Portland stone topped with a gilded urn of fire, and was designed by Christopher Wren and Robert Hooke. The west side of the base of the Monument displays an emblematical sculpture, by Caius Gabriel Cibber, in alto and bas relief, of the destruction of the City; with King Charles II, and his brother, James, the Duke of York (later James II) surrounded by Liberty, Architecture, and Science, giving directions for its restoration. Its 61-metre height marks the monument's distance to the site of Thomas Farynor, the king's baker's shop in Pudding Lane, where the fire began. At the time of construction (between 1671 and 1677) it was the tallest freestanding stone column in the world.
It is possible to reach the top of the monument by climbing up the narrow winding staircase of 311 steps. A cage (see picture) was added in the mid-19th century at the top of the Monument to prevent people jumping off, after six people had committed suicide between 1788 and 1842.
Three sides of the base of the monument carry inscriptions in Latin. The one on the south side describes actions taken by Charles II following the fire. The one on the east describes how the monument was started and brought to perfection, and under which mayors. The one on the north describes how the fire started, how much damage it caused, and how the fire was extinguished. In 1681 the words "but Popish frenzy, which wrought such horrors, is not yet quenched" were added to the end of the inscription. (The west side is described above.) The inscription on the east generally blames Roman Catholics for the fire, and this prompted Alexander Pope to say, of the area that it is where,
Where London's column, pointing at the skies,
Like a tall bully, lifts the head and lies." -- Moral Essays. Epistle iii. Line 339 (1733-1734).
The words were chiselled out in 1831.

Monument to the Great Fire of London History
Wren and Hooke built the Monument to double as a scientific instrument. It has a central shaft meant for use as a zenith telescope and for use in gravity and pendulum experiments that connects to an underground laboratory for observers to work (accessible from the present-day ticket booth). A hinged lid in the urn covers the opening to the shaft. The steps in the shaft of the tower are all apparently exactly 6 inches high, allowing them to be used for accurate barometric pressure studies.
Another monument, the Golden Boy of Pye Corner marks the point near Smithfield where the fire stopped.
The area around the base of the Monument, Monument Street has been pedestrianised in a £790,000 street improvement scheme.[1][2]
The Monument is currently closed from July 30, 2007 for an 18 month, £4.5 million refurbishment project.

Monument to the Great Fire of London In fiction

History of London
On a Grander Scale: The Outstanding Career of Sir Christopher Wren (ISBN 0-00-710775-7 hardback, ISBN 0-00-710776-5 paperback)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service
The West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service is the county-wide, statutory emergency fire and rescue service for the Metropolitan county of West Yorkshire, England. It is administered by a joint authority of 22 people who are appointed annually from the five Metropolitan Boroughs of West Yorkshire, known as the "Fire and Rescue Authority".
West Yorkshire covers an area of approximately 800 square miles which includes remote moorland, rural villages, large towns and cities as well as Leeds Bradford International Airport. The fire and rescue service's headquarters is located at Oakroyd Hall, Bradford Road, Birkenshaw, Bradford.

Full time

Todmorden West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service Retained

Fire service in the United Kingdom

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia
The Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (Russian: Русская Православная Церковь Московского Патриархата since 1943, Поместная Российская Православная Церковь before the reinstitution in 1943), also known as the Orthodox Christian Church of Russia, is a body of Christians who are united under the Patriarch of Moscow, who in turn is in communion with the other patriarchs and primates of the Eastern Orthodox Church. In this way, Russian Orthodox believers are in communion with all other Eastern Orthodox believers.

Doctrine and practices

Main articles: Icon and Russian icons Icons

Main article: Iconostasis Iconostasis
Russian Orthodox Church buildings differ in design from many western-type churches. Firstly, their interiors are enriched with many sacramental objects including holy icons, which are hung on the walls. In addition, murals often cover most of the interior. Some of these images represent the Theotokos (who is particularly revered in the Russian Orthodox Church), saints, and scenes from their lives.
Gold is the color which resembles the Heavenly Kingdom. It is also used to add a sense of indefinite depth to icons, which would otherwise be perceived as flat. Painted icons are intentionally composed in a two-dimensional, non-perspective fashion to allow equal viewing regardless of the placement, position, and/or angle of the observing person.
Most Russian Orthodox churches have an iconostasis, which separates the naos from the holy altar, and signifies the Heavenly Kingdom. Covered with icons, the iconostasis is intended to stop physical sight, and allow the worshipers to achieve spiritual sight.
Another remarkable feature of many Russian Orthodox Church is, the icon screen may reach all the way up into the dome (or domes). On the ceiling of many churches (inside the main dome) is the iconography of Christ as Pantokrator ("Ruler of All"). Such images emphasize Christ's humanity and divinity, signifying that Christ is a man and yet is also God without beginning or end.
There are no pews. Most churches are lit with candles rather than electric light. Virtually all churches have multiple votive candle stands in front of the icons. It is customary for worshippers to purchase candles in church stores, light them up, and place them on the stands. This ritual signifies a person's prayer to God, the Holy Mother, or to the saints or angels asking for help on the difficult path to salvation and to freedom from sin.
Sometimes the bottoms of crosses found in Russian Orthodox churches will be adorned with a crescent. The common misconception attributes these to the fact that in 1552, Tsar Ivan the Terrible conquered the city of Kazan which had been under the rule of Muslim Tatars, and in remembrance of this, he decreed that from henceforth the Islamic crescent be placed at the bottom of the crosses to signify the victory of the cross (Christianity) over the crescent (Islam). In fact, crescent on crosses was widespread during pre-Mongolian period of Russian history and bears no relation to the Islam.

Russian Orthodox churches

Main article: History of the Russian Orthodox Church History
The Russian Orthodox Church is traditionally said to have been founded by the Apostle Andrew, who is thought to have visited Scythia and Greek colonies along the northern coast of the Black Sea. According to one of the legends, Andrew reached the future location of Kiev and foretold the foundation of a great Christian city. The spot where he reportedly erected a cross is now marked by St. Andrew's Cathedral.
By the end of the first millennium AD, eastern Slavic lands started to come under the cultural influence of the Eastern Roman Empire. In 863-869, Saint Cyril and Saint Methodius translated parts of the Bible into Old Church Slavonic language for the first time, paving the way for the Christianization of the Slavs. There is evidence that the first Christian bishop was sent to Novgorod from Constantinople either by Patriarch Photius or Patriarch Ignatios, circa 866-867 AD.
By the mid-10th century, there was already a Christian community among Kievan nobility, under the leadership of Greek and Byzantine priests, although paganism remained the dominant religion. Princess Olga of Kiev was the first ruler of Kievan Rus to convert to Christianity, either in 945 or 957. Her grandson, Vladimir the Great, made Kievan Rus' a Christian state.
As a result of the Christianization of Kievan Rus' in 988, Prince Vladimir I of Kiev officially adopted Byzantine Rite Christianity — the religion of the Eastern Roman Empire — as the state religion of Kievan Rus'. This date is often considered the official birthday of the Russian Orthodox Church. Thus, in 1988, the Church celebrated its millennial anniversary. It therefore traces its apostolic succession through the Patriarch of Constantinople.
HistoryRussian Orthodox Byzantine EmpireRussian Orthodox Crusades Ecumenical council Baptism of Kiev Great Schism By region Eastern Orthodox history Ukraine Christian history Asia Eastern Christian history Traditions Oriental Orthodoxy Coptic Orthodox Church Armenian Apostolic Church Syriac Christianity Assyrian Church of the East Eastern Orthodox Church Eastern Catholic Churches Liturgy and Worship Sign of the cross Divine Liturgy Iconography Asceticism Omophorion Theology Hesychasm - Icon Apophaticism - Filioque clause Miaphysitism - Monophysitism Nestorianism - Theosis - Theoria Phronema - Philokalia Praxis - Theotokos Hypostasis - Ousia Essence-Energies distinction The Kievan church was originally a Metropolitanate of the Patriarchate of Constantinople and the Byzantine patriarch appointed the metropolitan who governed the Church of Rus'. The Metropolitan's residence was originally located in Kiev. As Kiev was losing its political, cultural, and economical significance due to the Mongol invasion, Metropolitan Maximus moved to Vladimir in 1299; his successors, Metropolitan Peter and Theognostus, moved the residence to Moscow by 1326.

Founding and earliest history
Following the tribulations of the Mongol invasion, the Russian Church was pivotal in the survival and life of the Russian state. Despite the politically motivated executions of Mikhail of Chernigov and Mikhail of Tver, the Mongols were generally tolerant and even granted tax exemption to the Church. Such holy figures as Sergius of Radonezh and Metropolitan Alexis helped the country to withstand years of Tatar oppression, and to expand both economically and spiritually.
The monastic reform of St. Sergius, which culminated in the foundation of the Trinity Monastery near Moscow, was one of the defining events of medieval Russian history. The monastery became the setting for the unprecedented flourishing of transcendent, spiritual art, exemplified by the work of Andrey Rublev, among others. The followers of Sergius founded four hundred monasteries, thus greatly extending the geographical extent of his influence and authority.
The spiritual resurgence of the late 14th century, associated with the names of St. Sergius, the missionary Stephen of Perm and the writer Epiphanius the Wise, contributed to the consolidation of the Russian nation. Lev Gumilev has observed that, having received the blessing of St. Sergius to make a stand against the Tatars, "the Suzdalians, Vladimirians, Rostovians, Pskovians went to the Kulikovo Field as representatives of their principalities but returned after the victory as Russians, although living in different towns",
At the Council of Florence (1439), a group of Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Church leaders agreed upon terms of reunification of the two branches of Christianity. The Russian Prince Basil II of Moscow, however, rejected the concessions to the Catholic Church and forbade the proclamation of the acts of the Council in Russia in 1452, after a short-lived East-West reunion. Metropolitan Isidore was in the same year expelled from his position as an apostate.
In 1448, the Russian Church became independent from the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Metropolitan Jonas, installed by the Council of Russian bishops in 1448, was given the title of Metropolitan of Moscow and All Russia. This was just five years before the fall of Constantinople in 1453. From this point onward the Russian Orthodox Church saw Moscow as the Third Rome, legitimate successor to Constantinople, and the Patriarch of Moscow as head of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Monastic reform of St. Sergius and its aftermath
The reign of Ivan III and his successor was plagued by numerous heresies and controversies. One party, led by Nil Sorsky and Vassian Kosoy, called for secularisation of monastic properties. They were oppugned by the influential Joseph of Volotsk, who defended ecclesiastical ownership of land and property. The sovereign's position fluctuated, but eventually he threw his support to Joseph. New sects sprang up, some of which showed a tendency to revert to Mosaic law: for instance, the archpriest Aleksei converted to Judaism after meeting a certain Zechariah the Jew.
Monastic life flourished in Russia, focusing on prayer and spiritual growth. The disciples of St. Sergius left the Troitse-Sergiyeva Lavra to found hundreds of monasteries across Russia. Some of the most famous monasteries were located in the Russian North, even as far north as Pechenga, in order to demonstrate how faith could flourish in the most inhospitable lands. The richest landowners of medieval Russia included Joseph Volokolamsk Monastery, Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery and the Solovetsky Monastery. In the 18th century, the three greatest monasteries were recognized as lavras, while those subordinated directly to the Synod were labelled stauropegic.
In the 1540s, Metropolitan Macarius codified Russian hagiography and convened a number of church synods, which culminated in the Hundred Chapter Synod of 1551. This assembly unified Church ceremonies and duties in the whole territory of Russia. At the demand of the Church hierarchy the government canceled the tsar's jurisdiction over ecclesiastics. Reinforced by these reforms, the Church felt strong enough to challenge the policies of the tsar. Philip of Moscow, in particular, decried many abuses of Ivan the Terrible, who eventually engineered his defrocking and murder.

Consolidation and codification
During the reign of the pious tsar Theodor I his brother-in-law Boris Godunov contacted the Ecumenical Patriarch, who "was much embarrassed for want of funds," with a view to establishing a patriarch see in Moscow. As a result of Godunov's efforts, Metropolitan Job of Moscow became in 1589 the first Patriarch of Moscow and All Rus', making the Russian Church autocephalous. The four other patriarchs have recognized the Moscow Patriarchate as one of the five honourable Patriarchates. During the next half a century, when the tsardom was weak, the patriarchs (notably Germogen and Philaret) would help run the state along with (and sometimes instead of) the tsars.
At the urging of the Zealots of Piety, Patriarch Nikon resolved in 1652 to centralize power that had been distributed locally, while conforming Russian Orthodox rites and rituals to those of the Greek Orthodox Church, as interpreted by pundits from the Kiev Ecclesiastical Academy. For instance he insisted that Russian Christians cross themselves with three fingers, rather than the then-traditional two. This aroused antipathy among a substantial section of the believers who saw the changed rites as heresy, although they had only a minor ritual significance. This group rejecting the new teachings became known as the Old Ritual Believers or Old Believers.
Although Nikon's far-flung ambitions of steering the country to a theocratic form of government precipitated his defrocking and exile, Tsar Aleksey deemed it prudent to uphold many of his innovations. During the Great Schism of the Russian Church, the Old Ritual Believers were separated from the main body of the Orthodox Church. Avvakum Petrov, Boyarynya Morozova and many other dissidents were burned at the stake, either forcibly or voluntarily. Others escaped from the government persecutions to Siberia and other inhospitable lands, where they would live in semi-seclusion until the modern times.

Autocephaly and Great Schism
In the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, the Russian Orthodox Church experienced phenomenal geographic expansion. In the following two centuries, missionary efforts stretched out across Siberia into Alaska, then into the United States at California. Eminent people on that missionary effort included St. Innocent of Irkutsk and St. Herman of Alaska. In emulation of Stephen of Perm, they learned local languages and translated the gospels and the hymns. Sometimes those translations required the invention of new systems of transcription.
In the aftermath of the Treaty of Pereyaslav, the Ottomans (supposedly acting on behalf of the Russian regent Sophia Alekseyevna) pressured the Patriarch of Constantinople into transferring the Metropoly of Kiev from the jurisdiction of Constantinople to that of Moscow. The controversial transfer brought millions of faithful and half a dozen dioceses under the pastoral and administrative care of the Patriarch of Moscow and all Rus', leading to the significant Ukrainian domination of the Russian Orthodox Church, which continued well into the 18th century, with Feofan Prokopovich, Epifany Slavinetsky, Stephen Yavorsky and Demetrius of Rostov being among the most notable representatives of this trend.
In 1700, after Patriarch Adrian's death, Peter the Great prevented a successor from being named, and in 1721, following the Caesaropapist advice of Feofan Prokopovich, he established the Holy and Supreme Synod under Stephen Yavorsky to govern the church instead of a single primate. This was the situation until shortly after the Russian Revolution of 1917, at which time the Local Council (more than half of its members being lay persons) adopted the decision to restore the Patriarchy. On November 5 (according to the Julian calendar) a new patriarch, Tikhon, was named through casting lots.
The late 18th century saw the rise of starchestvo under Paisiy Velichkovsky and his disciples at the Optina Monastery. This marked a beginning of a significant spiritual revival in the Russian Church after a lengthy period of westernization, personified by such figures as Demetrius of Rostov and Platon of Moscow. Aleksey Khomyakov, Ivan Kireevsky, and other lay theologians with Slavophile leanings elaborated some key concepts of the renovated Orthodox doctrine, including that of sobornost. The resurgence of Eastern Orthodoxy was reflected in Russian literature, e.g., the figure of Starets Zosima in Dostoevsky's Brothers Karamazov.

Expansion and Caesaropapism
During the final decades of the imperial order in Russia many educated Russians sought to return to the Church and revitalize their faith. No less evident were non-conformist paths of spiritual searching known as God-Seeking. Writers, artists, and intellectuals in large numbers were drawn to private prayer, mysticism, spiritualism, theosophy, and Eastern religions. A fascination with elemental feeling, with the unconscious and the mythic, proliferated along with visions of coming catastrophe and redemption.
The visible forms of God-Seeking were extensive. A series of 'Religious-Philosophical Meetings' were held in St. Petersburg in 1901-1903, bringing together prominent intellectuals and clergy to explore together ways to reconcile the Church with the growing of undogmatic desire among the educated for spiritual meaning in life. Especially after 1905, various religious societies arose, though much of this religious upheaval was informal: circles and salons, séances, private prayer. Some clergy also sought to revitalize Orthodox faith, most famously the charismatic Father John of Kronstadt, who, until his death in 1908 (though his followers remained active long after), emphasized Christian living and sought to restore fervency and the presence of the miraculous in liturgical celebration. In 1909, a sensation-creating volume of essays appeared under the title Vekhi ("Landmarks" or "Signposts"), authored by a group of leading left-wing intellectuals, including Sergei Bulgakov, Peter Struve, and former Marxists, who bluntly repudiated the materialism and atheism that had dominated the thought of the intelligentsia for generations as leading inevitably to failure and moral disaster.
One sees a similarly renewed vigor and variety in religious life and spirituality among the lower classes, especially after the upheavals of 1905. Among the peasantry we see widespread interest in spiritual-ethical literature and non-conformist moral-spiritual movements; an upsurge in pilgrimage and other devotions to sacred spaces and objects (especially icons); persistent beliefs in the presence and power of the supernatural (apparitions, possession, walking-dead, demons, spirits, miracles, and magic); the renewed vitality of local "ecclesial communities" actively shaping their own ritual and spiritual lives, sometimes in the absence of clergy, and defining their own sacred places and forms of piety; and the proliferation of what the Orthodox establishment branded as 'sectarianism', including both non-Orthodox Christian denominations, notably Baptists, and various forms of deviant popular Orthodoxy and mysticism.

The fin-de-siècle religious renaissance
In 1914 in Russia, there were 55,173 Russian Orthodox churches and 29,593 chapels, 112,629 priests and deacons, 550 monasteries and 475 convents with a total of 95,259 monks and nuns.
The year 1917 was a major turning point for the history of Russia, and also the Russian Orthodox Church. The Russian empire was dissolved and the Tsarist government - which had granted the Church numerous privileges - was overthrown. After a few months of political turmoil, the Bolsheviks took power in October 1917 and declared a separation of church and state. Thus the Russian Orthodox Church found itself without official state backing for the first time in its history. One of the first decrees of the new Communist government (issued in January 1918) declared freedom of "religious and anti-religious propaganda". This led to a marked decline in the power and influence of the Church. The Church was also caught in the crossfire of the Russian Civil War that began later the same year, and many leaders of the Church supported what would ultimately turn out to be the losing side (the White movement).
The Russian Orthodox Church collaborated with the White Army in the Russian Civil War (see White movement) after the October Revolution. This may have further strengthened the Bolshevik animus against the church.
Even before the end of the civil war and the establishment of the Soviet Union, the Russian Orthodox Church came under pressure from the secular Communist government. The Soviet government stood on a platform of atheism, viewing the church as a "counter-revolutionary" organization and an independent voice with a great influence in society. While the Soviet Union officially claimed religious toleration, in practice the government discouraged organized religion and did remove much religious influence from Soviet society.

Russian revolution
Before and after the October Revolution of November 7, 1917 (October 25 Old Calendar) there was a movement within the Soviet Union to unite all of the people of the world under Communist rule (see Communist International). This included the Eastern European bloc countries as well as the Balkan States. Since some of these Slavic states tied their ethnic heritage to their ethnic churches, both the peoples and their church were targeted by the Soviets.

Under Communist rule
The main target of the anti-religious campaign in the 1920s and 1930s was the Russian Orthodox Church, which had the largest number of faithful. Nearly all of its clergy, and many of its believers, were shot or sent to labor camps. Theological schools were closed, and church publications were prohibited.
The sixth sector of the OGPU, led by Eugene Tuchkov, began aggressively arresting and executing bishops, priests, and devout worshippers, such as Metropolitan Veniamin in Petrograd in 1922 for refusing to accede to the demand to hand in church valuables (including sacred relics). In the period between 1927 and 1940, the number of Orthodox Churches in the Russian Republic fell from 29,584 to less than 500. Between 1917 and 1935, 130,000 Orthodox priests were arrested. Of these, 95,000 were put to death, executed by firing squad. A new patriarch was elected, theological schools were opened, and thousands of churches began to function. The Moscow Theological Academy Seminary, which had been closed since 1918, was re-opened.
Between 1945 and 1959 the official organization of the church was greatly expanded, although individual members of the clergy were occasionally arrested and exiled. The number of open churches reached 25,000. By 1957 about 22,000 Russian Orthodox churches had become active. But in 1959 Nikita Khrushchev initiated his own campaign against the Russian Orthodox Church and forced the closure of about 12,000 churches. By 1985 fewer than 7,000 churches remained active. Members of the church hierarchy were jailed or forced out, their places taken by docile clergy, many of whom had ties with the KGB.

Stalinist era
A new and widespread persecution of the church was subsequently instituted under the leadership of Nikita Khrushchev and Leonid Brezhnev. A second round of repression, harassment and church closures took place between 1959 and 1964 during the rule of Nikita Khrushchev.
The Church and the government remained on unfriendly terms until 1988. In practice, the most important aspect of this conflict was that openly religious people could not join the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, which meant that they could not hold any political office. However, among the general population, large numbers remained religious.
Some Orthodox believers and even priests took part in the dissident movement and became prisoners of conscience. The Orthodox priests Gleb Yakunin, Sergiy Zheludkov and others spent years in Soviet prisons and exile for their efforts in defending freedom of worship..
By 1987 the number of functioning churches in the Soviet Union had fallen to 6893 and the number of functioning monasteries to just 18. In 1987 in the Russian SFSR, between 40% and 50% of newborn babies (depending on the region) were baptized and over 60% of all deceased received Christian funeral services.

Persecution under Khrushchev and Brezhnev
Beginning in the late 1980s, under Mikhail Gorbachev, the new political and social freedoms resulted in many church buildings being returned to the church, to be restored by local parishioners. A pivotal point in the history of the Russian Orthodox Church came in 1988 - the millennial anniversary of the Baptism of Kievan Rus'. Throughout the summer of that year, major government-supported celebrations took place in Moscow and other cities; many older churches and some monasteries were reopened. An implicit ban on religious propaganda on state TV was finally lifted. For the first time in the history of Soviet Union, people could see live transmissions of church services on television.

The Russian Orthodox Church is the largest of the Eastern Orthodox churches in the world and has seen a resurgence in activity and vitality since the end of Soviet rule. Up to 90% of ethnic Russians and a significant part of Belarusians as well as a minor part of Ukrainians identify themselves as Russian Orthodox (although to a large degree this is a cultural identification, rather than a religious one). In keeping with other Orthodox churches, which do not place a high importance on weekly church attendance, the number of people regularly attending services is relatively low, however it has grown significantly since the collapse of the Soviet Union. In December 2006 the Church had over 27,000 parishes, 169 bishops, 713 monasteries, two universities, five theological academies and 75 theological schools in the territory of the former Soviet Union and has a well-established presence in many other countries all over the world. In recent years many church buildings have been officially returned to the Church, most of these being in a deteriorated condition.
There have been difficulties in the relationship between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Vatican, especially since 2002, when Pope John Paul II created a Catholic diocesan structure for Russian territory. The leadership of the Russian Church saw this action as a throwback to prior attempts by the Vatican to proselytize the Russian Orthodox faithful to become Roman Catholic. This point of view is based upon the stance of the Russian Orthodox Church (and the Eastern Orthodox Church) that the Church of Rome is but one of many equal Christian organizations, and that as such it is straying into territory that was already Christianized by the Orthodox Church. The Catholic Church, on the other hand, while acknowledging the primacy of the Russian Orthodox Church in Russia, believes that the small Catholic minority in Russia, in continuous existence since at least the 18th century, should be served by a fully developed church hierarchy with a presence and status in Russia, just as the Russian Orthodox Church is present in other countries (including constructing a cathedral in Rome, near the Vatican).
The issue of encroachment by other Christian denominations into Russia is a particularly sensitive one to many members of the Russian Orthodox Church. They argue that the Orthodox Church now finds itself in a weakened position as a result of decades of secular Communist rule, and is therefore unable to compete on an equal footing with Western Churches. Thus, proselytizing by mostly foreign-based Catholics, Protestant denominations, and by many non-traditional sects can be seen as taking unfair advantage of the still-recovering condition of the Russian Church. On the other hand, many of these groups have argued that the position of Russian Orthodoxy is today no weaker than that of most Western European Churches. Smaller religious movements, particularly Baptists and members of other Protestant denominations, that have become active in Russia in the past decade claim that the state provides unfair support to the Orthodox Church and suppresses others, referring to the 1997 Russian law, under which those religious organizations that could not provide official proof of their existence for the preceding 15 years were seriously restricted in their rights and ability to worship. The law was formally presented as a way to combat destructive cults, but was condemned by representatives of other religions and human rights organizations as being written in a manner that explicitly favored the Russian Orthodox Church, as the Soviet Union had prohibited the establishment of other religions. Consequently, this law gave full rights only to a small number of "first-rank" religions, such as Orthodox Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and Judaism. The situation is expected to normalise as the 15-year window starts to slide over the post-Communist period.
Due to its deep cultural roots, many members of the Russian government are keen to display their respect for the Church. It is common for the President of Russia to publicly meet with the Patriarch on Church holidays such as Easter (Paskha or Пасха in Russian). Meetings with representatives of Islam and Buddhism occur less frequently.
The Russian Orthodox Church should not be confused with the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (also known as the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad), based in New York. The Russian Orthodox Church Abroad was formed by Russian communities outside then-Communist Russia who refused to recognize the authority of the Russian Orthodox Church, as they believed it had fallen under the influence of the Bolsheviks. The two churches have reconcilied as of May 17, 2007.

Post-Soviet recovery

Main article: Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia The Orthodox Church in America (OCA)

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