Eastern Orthodox Church
The Eastern Orthodox Church the Orthodox Catholic Church, is the second-largest Christian church, with 200–260 million members. It operates as a communion of autocephalous churches, each governed by its bishops in local synods, although half of Eastern Orthodox Christians live in Russia; the church has no central doctrinal or governmental authority analogous to the Bishop of Rome, but the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople is recognised by all as primus inter pares of the bishops. As one of the oldest religious institutions in the world, the Eastern Orthodox Church has played a prominent role in the history and culture of Eastern and Southeastern Europe, the Caucasus, the Near East. Eastern Orthodox theology is based on the Nicene Creed; the church teaches that it is the One, Holy and Apostolic church established by Jesus Christ in his Great Commission, that its bishops are the successors of Christ's apostles. It maintains, its patriarchates, reminiscent of the pentarchy, autocephalous and autonomous churches reflect a variety of hierarchical organisation.
Of its innumerable sacred mysteries, it recognises seven major sacraments, of which the Eucharist is the principal one, celebrated liturgically in synaxis. The church teaches that through consecration invoked by a priest, the sacrificial bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ; the Virgin Mary is venerated in the Eastern Orthodox Church as the God-bearer, honoured in devotions. The Eastern Orthodox Church shared communion with the Roman Catholic Church until the East–West Schism in 1054, triggered by disputes over doctrine the authority of the Pope. Before the Council of Chalcedon in AD 451, the Oriental Orthodox churches shared in this communion, separating over differences in Christology; the majority of Eastern Orthodox Christians live in Southeast and Eastern Europe, Cyprus and other communities in the Caucasus region, communities in Siberia reaching the Russian Far East. There are smaller communities in the former Byzantine regions of the Eastern Mediterranean, in the Middle East where it is decreasing due to persecution.
There are many in other parts of the world, formed through diaspora and missionary activity. In keeping with the church's teaching on universality and with the Nicene Creed, Orthodox authorities such as Saint Raphael of Brooklyn have insisted that the full name of the church has always included the term "Catholic", as in "Holy Orthodox Catholic Apostolic Church"; the official name of the Eastern Orthodox Church is the "Orthodox Catholic Church". It is the name by which the church refers to itself in its liturgical or canonical texts, in official publications, in official contexts or administrative documents. Orthodox teachers refer to the church as Catholic; this name and longer variants containing "Catholic" are recognised and referenced in other books and publications by secular or non-Orthodox writers. The common name of the church, "Eastern Orthodox Church", is a shortened practicality that helps to avoid confusions in casual use. From ancient times through the first millennium, Greek was the most prevalent shared language in the demographic regions where the Byzantine Empire flourished, Greek, being the language in which the New Testament was written, was the primary liturgical language of the church.
For this reason, the eastern churches were sometimes identified as "Greek" before the Great Schism of 1054. After 1054, "Greek Orthodox" or "Greek Catholic" marked a church as being in communion with Constantinople, much as "Catholic" did for communion with Rome; this identification with Greek, became confusing with time. Missionaries brought Orthodoxy to many regions without ethnic Greeks, where the Greek language was not spoken. In addition, struggles between Rome and Constantinople to control parts of Southeastern Europe resulted in the conversion of some churches to Rome, which also used "Greek Catholic" to indicate their continued use of the Byzantine rites. Today, many of those same churches remain, while a large number of Orthodox are not of Greek national origin, do not use Greek as the language of worship. "Eastern" indicates the geographical element in the Church's origin and development, while "Orthodox" indicates the faith, as well as communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.
There are additional Christian churches in the east that are in communion with neither Rome nor Constantinople, who tend to be distinguished by the category named "Oriental Orthodox". While the church continues to call itself "Catholic", for reasons of universality, the common title of "Eastern Orthodox Church" avoids casual confusion with the Roman Catholic Church; the first known use of the phrase "the catholic Church" occurred in a letter written about 110 AD from one Greek church to another. The letter states: "Wheresoever the bishop shall appear, there let the people be as where Jesus may be, there is the universal Church." Thus from the beginning, Christians referred to the Church as the "One, Holy and Apostolic Church". The Eastern Orthodox Church claims that it is today the continuation and preservation of that same early Church. A number of other Christian churches make a similar claim: the Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion, the Assyrian Church and the Oriental Orthodox.
In the Eastern Orthodox v
Anichkov Palace is a former imperial palace in Saint Petersburg, at the intersection of Nevsky Avenue and the Fontanka. The palace, situated on the plot owned by Antonio de Vieira, takes its name from the nearby Anichkov Bridge across the Fontanka. Designed for the Empress Elizabeth of Russia in a dazzling Baroque style, the palace came to be known as the most imposing private residence of the Elizabethan era; some suggest architects Bartolomeo Rastrelli and Mikhail Zemtsov were responsible for the design, though it's yet to be substantiated. The main frontage faces the river and was connected to it by a Canal. Construction works continued for thirteen years and, when finished in 1754, the palace was presented by the Empress to her favourite and spouse, Count Aleksey Razumovsky. After his death, the palace reverted to the crown, only to be donated by Catherine the Great of Russia to her own favourite, Prince Potemkin, in 1776; the architect Ivan Starov was charged with extensive renovations of the palace in the newly-fashionable Neoclassical style, effected in 1778 and 1779.
A regular park was laid out by an English garden architect, William Hould. Upon Potemkin's demise, the palace was restored to the crown and adapted to accommodate Her Imperial Majesty's Cabinet; the last major structural additions were made in the reign of Alexander I, with Quarenghi's construction of the Imperial Cabinet along Nevsky Avenue. The latter structure was formulated in a rigorous Neoclassical style and many people feel that it doesn't complement Rastrelli's original work. Three year Alexander I bestowed the palace on his sister, Grand Duchess Elena Pavlovna of Russia – she was the Grand Duchess of Mecklenburg-Schwerin by marriage. Several architects worked on the edifice since and its interiors were continuously refurbished. Following his marriage the future Tsar Alexander III and his wife, Maria Feodorovna, made it their St. Petersburg residence, ensuring its refacing in a variety of historic styles, it was there that their children, including the last Russian tsar, Nicholas II, spent his childhood years, after Alexander III assumed power, he preferred to stay at the Anichkov Palace as opposed to the Winter Palace.
It was the setting for numerous family festivities, including the wedding of Nicholas's niece Irina Romanova to Prince Felix Yusupov in 1914. Nicholas II's mother, after becoming dowager empress, continued to have right of residence in the palace until the February Revolution, although she had moved to Kiev away from St. Petersburg. After the revolution the Ministry of Provisions moved there instead. Following the October Revolution, the Anichkov Palace was nationalized and designated the St. Petersburg City Museum. Since 1934, when it was converted into the Young Pioneer Palace, the palace has housed over hundred after-school clubs for more than 10,000 children. While a small museum inside is open to the public at selected times, the edifice is not accessible to tourists. Axelrod V. I. Bulankova L. P. Anichkov dvorets – legendy i byli. SPb, 1996. Official website Anichkov Palace in Encyclopaedia of St. Petersburg
Peter Carl Fabergé
Peter Carl Fabergé known as Karl Gustavovich Fabergé, was a Russian jeweller best known for the famous Fabergé eggs made in the style of genuine Easter eggs, but using precious metals and gemstones rather than more mundane materials. He was the founder of the famous jewelry legacy House of Fabergé, he was born in Saint Petersburg, Russia, to the Baltic German jeweller Gustav Fabergé and his Danish wife Charlotte Jungstedt. Gustav Fabergé's paternal ancestors were Huguenots from La Bouteille, who fled from France after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, first to Germany near Berlin in 1800 to the Pernau Baltic province of Livonia part of Russia, now Estonia; until he was 14 years old he went to the German St Anne School in Russia. In 1860 his father moved with his family to Germany, he left the House of Fabergé in Saint Petersburg in the hands of his business partner. Carl Fabergé undertook a course at the Dresden Arts and Crafts School. 1862 Agathon Fabergé, the Fabergés' second son, was born in Dresden, where he went to school as well.
In 1864, Peter Carl Fabergé embarked upon a Grand Tour of Europe at. He received tuition from respected goldsmiths in Germany and England, attended a course at Schloss's Commercial College in Paris, viewed the objects in the galleries of Europe's leading museums, his travel and study continued until 1872, when at the age of 26 he returned to St. Petersburg and married Augusta Julia Jacobs. 1874 saw the arrival of his first child, Eugene Fabergé and two years Agathon Fabergé was born. For the following 10 years, his father's trusted workmaster Hiskias Pendin acted as his mentor and tutor; the company was involved with cataloguing and restoring objects in the Hermitage during the 1870s. In 1881 the business moved to larger street-level premises at 16/18 Bolshaya Morskaya. Upon the death of Hiskias Pendin in 1882, Carl Fabergé took sole responsibility for running the company. Carl was awarded the title Master Goldsmith, which permitted him to use his own hallmark in addition to that of the firm. In 1885 his brother Agathon Fabergé joined the firm and became Carl Faberge's main assistant in the designing of jewelry.
Agathon who had Dresden. Carl and Agathon Fabergé Sr. were a sensation at the Pan-Russian Exhibition held in Moscow in 1882. Carl was awarded the St. Stanisias Medal. One of the Fabergé pieces displayed was a replica of a 4th-century BC gold bangle from the Scythian Treasure in the Hermitage; the Tsar, Alexander III, "Emperor and Autocrat of all the Russians", declared that he could not distinguish the Fabergé's work from the original and ordered that objects by the House of Fabergé should be displayed in the Hermitage as examples of superb contemporary Russian craftsmanship. The House of Fabergé with its range of jewels was now within the focus of Russia's Imperial Court; when Peter Carl took over the House, there was a move from producing jewellery in the then-fashionable French 18th century style to becoming artist-jewellers. Fabergé's production of the first so-called Fabergé egg, the Hen Egg, given as a gift from the Tsar to his wife Maria Fyodorovna on Orthodox Easter of 1885 so delighted her that on 1 May the Emperor assigned Fabergé the title Goldsmith by special appointment to the Imperial Crown of that year.
This meant that Fabergé now had full personal access to the important Hermitage Collection, where he was able to study and find inspiration for developing his unique personal style. Influenced by the jewelled bouquets created by the eighteenth century goldsmiths Jean-Jacques Duval and Jérémie Pauzié, Fabergé re-worked their ideas combining them with his accurate observations and his fascination for Japanese art; this resulted in a revival of the lost art of enameling and a focus on the setting of every single gemstone in a piece to its best visual advantage. Indeed, it was not unusual for Agathon to make ten or more wax models so that all possibilities could be exhausted before deciding on a final design. Shortly after Agathon joined the firm, the House introduced objects deluxe: gold bejewelled items embellished with enamel ranging from electric bell pushes to cigarette cases and including objects de fantaisie. In light of the Empress' response to receiving one of Fabergé's eggs on Easter, the Tsar soon commissioned the company to make an Easter egg as a gift for her every year thereafter.
The Tsar placed an order for another egg the following year. Beginning in 1887, the Tsar gave Carl Fabergé complete freedom with regard to egg designs, which became more and more elaborate. According to Fabergé Family tradition, not the Tsar knew what form they would take— the only stipulation was that each one should be unique and each should contain a surprise. Upon the death of Alexander III, his son, the next Tsar, Nicholas II, followed this tradition and expanded it by requesting that there be two eggs each year, one for his mother and one for his wife, Alexandra; these Easter gift eggs are today distinguished from the other jeweled eggs Fabergé ended up producing by their designation as "Imperial Easter eggs" or "Tsar Imperial Easter eggs". The tradition continued until the October Revolution when the entire Romanov dynasty was executed and the eggs and many other treasures were confiscated by the interim government; the two final eggs were paid for. Although today the House of Fabergé is famed for its Imperial Easter eggs, it made many more objects rangin
Guilloché, is a decorative technique in which a precise and repetitive pattern is mechanically engraved into an underlying material via engine turning, which uses a machine of the same name called a rose engine lathe. This mechanical technique improved on more time-consuming designs achieved by hand and allowed for greater delicacy and closeness of line, as well as greater speed; the term "guilloche" is used more for repetitive architectural patterns of intersecting or overlapping spirals or other shapes, as used in the Ancient Near East, classical Greece and Rome and neo-classical architecture, Early Medieval interlace decoration in Anglo-Saxon art and elsewhere. Medieval Cosmatesque stone inlay designs with two ribbons winding around a series of regular central points are often called guilloche; these central points are blank, but may contain a figure, such as a rose. These senses are a back-formation from the engraving guilloché, so called because the architectural motifs resemble the designs produced by guilloché techniques.
The name, as guilloché, is French, dating back at least to the 1770s, is said to be called after a French engineer named Guillot, who invented a tool or turning machine. However no dates nor first name are provided for this shadowy figure, many dictionaries seem suspicious of his existence. Engine turning machines were first used in the 1500–1600s on soft materials such as ivory and wood. In the 18th century they were adopted for metals such as silver; some accounts give the credit of developing tightly-packed engraved guilloché decoration to the Nuremberg glass-making dynasty of the Schwanhardt family in the 17th century, using a wheel to engrave the glass. Engine turning machines made of cast iron and heavy wooden bases, with precision machined surfaces were made until circa 1967. Individuals continue the craft in limited quantities. A Guilloche Machine was granted a US Patent in 1968 by Wilhelm Brandstatter; the original assignor was a firm called Maschinenfabrik Michael Kampf KG. A photo of this machine can be seen at Turati Lombardi's history page.
In the 1920s and'30s, automobile parts such as valve covers, which are atop the engine, were engine-turned. Dashboards or the instrument panel of the same were engine-turned. Customizers would decorate their vehicles with engine-turning panels similarly. Guilloche describes a narrow instance of guilloche: a design architectural, using two curved bands that interlace in a pattern around a central space; some dictionaries give only this definition of guilloche, although others include the broader meaning associated with guilloché as a second meaning. Note that in the original sense a straight line can be guilloché, persons using the French spelling and pronunciation intend the broader, original meaning. Translucent enamel was applied over guilloché metal by Peter Carl Fabergé on the Faberge eggs and other pieces from the 1880s. In consequence of the nature of the design, a series of lines that are, or look much like they are interwoven into one another, any design engraved on metal, printed, or otherwise erected on surfaces such as wood or stone, that go in a similar style of constant wriggling that interlock - or look like they are interlocking - with one another, is referred to as guilloché.
Some of the more common ones are the following: Engraved: in fine timepieces, fine pens, jewelry charms, hair-styling accessories, wine goblets etc. Examples of famous works of Guilloché are the engravings on Faberge eggs. Erected: on stone for architecture, in wood for styling, on furniture or molding, etc. Printed: on bank notes, currency or certificates, etc. to protect against forged copies. The pattern used in this instance is called a spirograph in mathematics, that is, a hypotrochoid generated by a fixed point on a circle rolling inside a fixed circle, it has parametric equations. These patterns bear a strong resemblance to the designs produced on the Spirograph, a children's toy; the engine turning machine characteristic of guilloché is called by other names in specific uses: Rose engine Straight line engine turning Tour à guilloché Holtzapffel lathe, named after the founder of an ornamental lathe manufacturer John Jacob Holtzapffel Decoration lathe Damaskeening Geometric lathe Cycloidal engine Ornamental turning or ornamental lathe.
The different types of the machines refer to different models and different times during the development of the engine-turning machine. Spirograph Fretwork Cloisonné Roulette curve Security printing Basse-taille Geometric lathe Ornamental turning Chisholm, Hugh, ed.. "Guilloche". Encyclopædia Britannica. Cambridge University Press
Russia the Russian Federation, is a transcontinental country in Eastern Europe and North Asia. At 17,125,200 square kilometres, Russia is by far or by a considerable margin the largest country in the world by area, covering more than one-eighth of the Earth's inhabited land area, the ninth most populous, with about 146.77 million people as of 2019, including Crimea. About 77 % of the population live in the European part of the country. Russia's capital, Moscow, is one of the largest cities in the world and the second largest city in Europe. Extending across the entirety of Northern Asia and much of Eastern Europe, Russia spans eleven time zones and incorporates a wide range of environments and landforms. From northwest to southeast, Russia shares land borders with Norway, Estonia, Latvia and Poland, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, China and North Korea, it shares maritime borders with Japan by the Sea of Okhotsk and the U. S. state of Alaska across the Bering Strait. However, Russia recognises two more countries that border it, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, both of which are internationally recognized as parts of Georgia.
The East Slavs emerged as a recognizable group in Europe between the 3rd and 8th centuries AD. Founded and ruled by a Varangian warrior elite and their descendants, the medieval state of Rus arose in the 9th century. In 988 it adopted Orthodox Christianity from the Byzantine Empire, beginning the synthesis of Byzantine and Slavic cultures that defined Russian culture for the next millennium. Rus' disintegrated into a number of smaller states; the Grand Duchy of Moscow reunified the surrounding Russian principalities and achieved independence from the Golden Horde. By the 18th century, the nation had expanded through conquest and exploration to become the Russian Empire, the third largest empire in history, stretching from Poland on the west to Alaska on the east. Following the Russian Revolution, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic became the largest and leading constituent of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the world's first constitutionally socialist state; the Soviet Union played a decisive role in the Allied victory in World War II, emerged as a recognized superpower and rival to the United States during the Cold War.
The Soviet era saw some of the most significant technological achievements of the 20th century, including the world's first human-made satellite and the launching of the first humans in space. By the end of 1990, the Soviet Union had the world's second largest economy, largest standing military in the world and the largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, twelve independent republics emerged from the USSR: Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and the Baltic states regained independence: Estonia, Lithuania, it is governed as a federal semi-presidential republic. Russia's economy ranks as the twelfth largest by nominal GDP and sixth largest by purchasing power parity in 2018. Russia's extensive mineral and energy resources are the largest such reserves in the world, making it one of the leading producers of oil and natural gas globally; the country is one of the five recognized nuclear weapons states and possesses the largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction.
Russia is a great power as well as a regional power and has been characterised as a potential superpower. It is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council and an active global partner of ASEAN, as well as a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, the G20, the Council of Europe, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the World Trade Organization, as well as being the leading member of the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Collective Security Treaty Organization and one of the five members of the Eurasian Economic Union, along with Armenia, Belarus and Kyrgyzstan; the name Russia is derived from Rus', a medieval state populated by the East Slavs. However, this proper name became more prominent in the history, the country was called by its inhabitants "Русская Земля", which can be translated as "Russian Land" or "Land of Rus'". In order to distinguish this state from other states derived from it, it is denoted as Kievan Rus' by modern historiography.
The name Rus itself comes from the early medieval Rus' people, Swedish merchants and warriors who relocated from across the Baltic Sea and founded a state centered on Novgorod that became Kievan Rus. An old Latin version of the name Rus' was Ruthenia applied to the western and southern regions of Rus' that were adjacent to Catholic Europe; the current name of the country, Россия, comes from the Byzantine Greek designation of the Rus', Ρωσσία Rossía—spelled Ρωσία in Modern Greek. The standard way to refer to citizens of Russia is rossiyane in Russian. There are two Russian words which are commonly
House of Romanov
The House of Romanov was the reigning royal house of Russia from 1613 to 1917. The Romanovs achieved prominence as boyars of the Grand Duchy of Moscow and the Tsardom of Russia under the reigning Rurik dynasty, which became extinct upon the death of Tsar Feodor I in 1598; the Time of Troubles was caused by the resulting succession crisis, where several pretenders and imposters fought for the crown during the Polish–Muscovite War. On 21 February 1613, Michael Romanov was elected Tsar of Russia by the Zemsky Sobor, establishing the Romanovs as Russia's second reigning dynasty. Michael's grandson Peter I established the Russian Empire in 1721, transforming the country into a great power through a series of wars and reforms; the direct male line of the Romanovs ended when Elizabeth of Russia died in 1762 leading the House of Holstein-Gottorp, a cadet branch of the German House of Oldenburg that reigned in Denmark, to ascend to the crown under Peter III. Known as the House of Romanov, descendants after Elizabeth are sometimes referred to as "Holstein-Gottorp-Romanov".
The abdication of Tsar Nicholas II on 15 March 1917 as a result of the February Revolution ended 304-years of Romanov rule, establishing the Russian Republic under the Russian Provisional Government in the lead up to the Russian Civil War. In 1918, the Tsar and his family were executed by the Bolsheviks and the 47 survivors of the House of Romanov's 65 members went into exile abroad. In 1924, Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich, the senior surviving male-line descendant of Alexander II of Russia by primogeniture, claimed the headship of the defunct Imperial House of Russia. Since 1991, the succession to the former Russian throne has been in dispute due to disagreements over the validity of dynasts' marriages between the lines of Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna of Russia and Prince Nicholas Romanovich Romanov, succeeded by Prince Andrew Romanov, it remains unclear whether any ukase abolished the surname of Michael Romanov after his accession to the Russian throne in 1613, although by tradition members of reigning dynasties use surnames, being known instead by dynastic titles.
From January 1762, the monarchs of the Russian Empire claimed the throne as relatives of Grand Duchess Anna Petrovna of Russia, who had married Charles Frederick, Duke of Holstein-Gottorp. Thus they were no longer Romanovs by patrilineage, belonging instead to the Holstein-Gottorp cadet branch of the German House of Oldenburg that reigned in Denmark; the 1944 edition of the Almanach de Gotha records the name of Russia's ruling dynasty from the time of Peter III as "Holstein-Gottorp-Romanov". However, the terms "Romanov" and "House of Romanov" occurred in official references to the Russian imperial family; the coat-of-arms of the Romanov boyars was included in legislation on the imperial dynasty, in a 1913 jubilee, Russia celebrated the "300th Anniversary of the Romanovs' rule". After the February Revolution of March 1917, a special decree of the Provisional Government of Russia granted all members of the imperial family the surname "Romanov"; the only exceptions, the morganatic descendants of the Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich, took the surname Il'insky.
The Romanovs share their origin with two dozen other Russian noble families. Their earliest common ancestor is one Andrei Kobyla, attested around 1347 as a boyar in the service of Semyon I of Moscow. Generations assigned to Kobyla an illustrious pedigree. An 18th-century genealogy claimed that he was the son of the Old Prussians prince Glanda Kambila, who came to Russia in the second half of the 13th century, fleeing the invading Germans. Indeed, one of the leaders of the Old Prussians rebellion of 1260–1274 against the Teutonic order was named Glande; this legendary version of the Romanov's origin is contested by a more plausible version of their descent from a boyar family from Novgorod. His actual origin may have been less spectacular. Not only is Kobyla Russian for "mare", some of his relatives had as nicknames the terms for horses and other domestic animals, thus suggesting descent from one of the royal equerries. One of Kobyla's sons, a member of the boyar Duma of Dmitri Donskoi, was nicknamed Koshka.
His descendants took the surname Koshkin changed it to Zakharin, which family split into two branches: Zakharin-Yakovlev and Zakharin-Yuriev. During the reign of Ivan the Terrible, the former family became known as Yakovlev, whereas grandchildren of Roman Yurievich Zakharyin-Yuriev changed their name to "Romanov". Feodor Nikitich Romanov was descended from the Rurik dynasty through the female line, his mother, Evdokiya Gorbataya-Shuyskaya, was a Rurikid princess from the Shuysky branch, daughter of Alexander Gorbatyi-Shuisky. The family fortunes soared when Roman's daughter, Anastasia Zakharyina, married Ivan IV, the Rurikid Grand Prince of Moscow, on 3 February 1547. Since her husband had assumed the title of tsar, which means "Caesar", on 16 January 1547, she was crowned the first tsaritsa of Russia, her mysterious death in 1560 changed Ivan's character for the worse. Suspecting the boyars of having poisoned his beloved, Tsar Ivan started a reign of terror against them. Among his children by Anastasia, the elder was murdered by the tsar in a quarrel.
Throughout Feodor's reign, the Tsar's brother-in-law, Boris Godunov, his Romanov cousins con
Alexandra Feodorovna (Alix of Hesse)
Alexandra Feodorovna was Empress of Russia as the spouse of Nicholas II—the last ruler of the Russian Empire—from their marriage on 26 November 1894 until his forced abdication on 15 March 1917. Princess Alix of Hesse and by Rhine at birth, she was given the name and patronymic Alexandra Feodorovna upon being received into the Russian Orthodox Church and—having been killed along with her immediate family while in Bolshevik captivity in 1918—was canonized in 2000 as Saint Alexandra the Passion Bearer. A granddaughter of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom, Alexandra was, like her grandmother, one of the most famous royal carriers of the haemophilia disease, her reputation for encouraging her husband's resistance to the surrender of autocratic authority and her known faith in the Russian mystic Grigori Rasputin damaged her popularity and that of the Romanov monarchy in its final years. Alexandra was born on 6 June 1872 at the New Palace in Darmstadt as Princess Alix Viktoria Helene Luise Beatrix of Hesse and by Rhine, a Grand Duchy, part of the German Empire.
She was the sixth child and fourth daughter among the seven children of Louis IV, Grand Duke of Hesse, his first wife, Princess Alice of the United Kingdom, the second daughter of Queen Victoria and Albert, Prince Consort. As an infant, she was noted to be pretty, resembled her elder sister Elisabeth, having the same delicate features and long dark lashes. Alix was baptized on 1 July 1872 according to the rites of the Lutheran Church and given the names of her mother and each of her mother's four sisters, some of which were transliterated into German, her godparents were the Prince and Princess of Wales, Princess Beatrice of the United Kingdom, the Duchess of Cambridge, the Tsesarevich and Tsesarevna of Russia, Princess Anna of Prussia. Her mother gave her the nickname of "Sunny", due to her cheerful disposition, a practice picked up by her husband, her British relatives gave her the nickname of "Alicky" in order to distinguish her from her aunt-by-marriage, the Princess of Wales, while having the given name Alexandra, was known within the family as Alix.
Alix's haemophiliac older brother Prince Friedrich of Hesse and by Rhine died in May 1873 after a fall when Alix was a year old. Out of her siblings, she was closest to Princess Marie, two years younger. Both of them enjoyed a happy childhood and were doted on by their elder siblings and mother, who adored her two younger daughters. In November 1878, diphtheria swept through the House of Hesse. Elisabeth, Alix's older sister, had been sent to visit her paternal grandmother, thus escaped the outbreak. Alix's mother Alice tended to the children herself, rather than abandon them to doctors. Alice herself soon fell ill and died on the 17th anniversary of her father's death, 14 December 1878, when Alix was only six years old. Alix and her sisters Victoria and Irene survived the epidemic, but Marie did not. After her mother and her sister's death, Alix grew from a happy and cheerful girl into one, reserved and withdrawn. Alix and her surviving siblings grew close to their British cousins, spending holidays with their grandmother Queen Victoria.
Along with her sister, Princess Irene, Alix was a bridesmaid at the 1885 wedding of her godmother and maternal aunt, Princess Beatrice to Prince Henry of Battenberg, was present at her grandmother's Golden Jubilee celebrations in 1887. Alix was said to be Queen Victoria's favourite granddaughter. Despite being renowned as one of the most beautiful princesses in her youth, Alix was married late for her rank in her era, having rejected a proposal from her first cousin, the Duke of Clarence and Avondale in 1890, despite strong familial pressure. Though Queen Victoria had intended for Alix to be Britain's future queen, she relented, accepting Alix's objections as indicative of her strength of character. Alix had met and fallen in love with Grand Duke Nicholas, heir to the throne of Russia, whose mother, Empress Maria Feodorovna, was her godmother and the younger sister of the then-Princess of Wales, whose uncle Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich was married to Alix's sister Elisabeth. Alix and Nicholas were related to each other via several different lines of European royalty: the most notable was their shared great-grandmother Princess Wilhelmina of Baden, Nicholas's paternal grandmother, Empress Maria Alexandrovna of Russia, was Alix's paternal great aunt, making them second cousins via this line.
Nicholas and Alix had first met in 1884 at the wedding of Nicholas's Uncle Sergei to Alix's sister Elizabeth in St. Petersburg; when Alix returned to Russia in 1889, they fell in love. Nicholas wrote in his diary: "It is my dream to one day marry Alix H. I have loved her for a long time, but more and since 1889 when she spent six weeks in Petersburg. For a long time, I have resisted my feeling that my dearest dream will come true." Nicholas's father, Tsar Alexander III, refused the prospect of marriage. Alexander and his wife, both vehemently anti-German, had no intention of permitting a match with Princess Alix and the Tsesarevich. Although Alix was his godchild, it was known that Alexander III was angling for a bigger catch for his son, someone like