Order of Saint Stanislaus (Imperial House of Romanov)
The Order of Saint Stanislaus (Polish: Order św. Stanisława, Russian: Орденъ Св. Станислава), also spelled Stanislas, originated as an order in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The order was founded in Poland in 1765, but in 1831 was absorbed into the Chapter of Orders as an order of Imperial Russia. This page describes the order that is still awarded by the head of the Imperial House of Romanow-Holstein-Gottorp as a dynastic order of merit.
History of the Order of Saint Stanislaus In Poland
Stanislaus II Augustus Poniatowski, King of Poland established the Order of the Knights of Saint Stanislaus, Bishop and Martyr on May 7, 1765 to honour the service to the King. After the partition of Poland it was renewed in the Duchy of Warsaw in 1807. Since 1815 in the Polish (Congress) Kingdom, the order, originally in a single class, was retained and divided into four classes. When in 1918 Poland regained its independence as the Second Polish Republic, the order was reintroduced as the Order of Polonia Restituta.
History of the Order of Saint Stanislaus Within the Russian Empire
In 1832 the image of St. Stanislaus was removed, replacing it with the cypher "SS". The single-headed eagle on the Polish Order's cross was replaced with double-headed eagle of the Russian Empire. All administration and management of the Imperial & Royal Order were transferred from Warsaw to St. Petersburg.
In 1839 Nicholas I issued a new statute for the Order, according to which it is was divided into three degrees, and was awarded to "any subject of the Russian Empire and the Kingdom of Poland" for military and civilian distinction, or for private services such as charity and philanthropy. The Second Class insignia of the Order was divided into two types: a cross decorated with the imperial crown, and the cross without the crown (this distinction was abolished in 1874).
In 1844, it was decreed that when the order was granted to non-Christians, the cypher of St. Stanislaus was replaced by a black double-headed Imperial Russian eagle.
The Order of St. Stanislaus 3rd degree became the junior most award in the order of precedence of Russian orders and was the most common reward. It was awarded to almost all military and government employees as well as civilians who served the empire with a blameless record, and who has status in the Russian table of ranks. At the time of the establishment of the Order, the award of every class provided the right of hereditary noble status, but there was discontent among the nobility that too many new nobles were being created from the ranks of merchants and civil employees, and so in 1845 the highest command suspended the awarding of the 2nd and 3rd class. Awarding resumed on 28 June 1855, but from this date the right of hereditary nobility was awarded only with the 1st class of the Order of St. Stanislaus.
In 1855 the symbol of crossed swords was added to Military awards of the order.
In 1874 the Chapter of Orders canceled the awarding of the symbol of the imperial crown, but any such orders previously awarded retained the right to wear them with the crown.
After the February Revolution, the Order was not canceled. The Provisional Government of Russia arguably usurped the Order of St. Stanislaus, changing its appearance: the imperial eagles were changed to crown less republican eagles. After 1917, the medal was not awarded in Soviet Russia in any form.
The heads of the Russian Imperial House in exile have continued to award Imperial and Royal Order of St. Stanislaus. HIH Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna, pretender to the Russian throne, and head of the Russian Imperial House continues to award the Russian Imperial Order of Saint Stanislaus as a dynastic order of knighthood. These actions are disputed by some historians, and by some other members of the Romanov Family.
Insignia of the Order
Extracts from the Imperial Chapter of Orders and other honors , ed. 1892  : Order of St. Stanislaus has three degrees, for which the insignia are :
1) FIRST CLASS . Gold cross, covered with a red enamel face, the four ends of which are further divided in two sharp points; on the edges of the cross a double gold rim; at the eight sharp points golden balls; and among these terminals, bringing them together, are gold semicircles of striped shells; in the center, on a white filigree round shield encircled by a gold border with a green wreath on it, the Latin monogram of St. Stanislaus, a red "SS"; at each of the axillae the state symbol of the Russian double-headed eagle in gold. On the rear side of the cross, all gold, with the verso a centered white round enameled shield, which depicts the same monogram "SS".
It is worn on a moiré red ribbon, the breadth of two and a half inches , double white stripes at the borders, worn over the right shoulder with the star on the left side of the chest.
Silver Star , the eight rays centering a white round shield circled with wide green stripes with two gold rims , the external rim wider; on the green enameled band between, gold laurel branches connected in the middle of each by two flowers ; center roundel, in white enamel with red letters the cypher of St. Stanislaus : "SS"; and around the hoop in a white box with gold letters , the motto of the Order : Praemiando incitat ( rewarding encourages ) divided at the top with a golden flower.
2) SECOND CLASS. Cross of the same form, as for the first class, but of lesser magnitude, worn around the neck, on a ribbon with a width of one or two inches .
3) THIRD CLASS. Cross of the same form as the first two classes but, worn in the buttonhole on the same ribbon with a width of five-eighths inches .
On the star and crosses of all classes, non-Christian recipients will have, instead of the cypher of St. Stanislaus, a black and gold Imperial Russian double-headed Eagle . Knights of the Order of St. Stanislaus are granted nobility in every class, if they do not already possess this status: hereditary nobility in the First Class, Personal Nobility in the Second and Third Classes. Knights of the Order of St. Stanislaus - are also awarded a pension: The 30 Senior Knights of the First Class receive 143 rubles. , The 60 senior gentlemen of the Second Class receive 115 rubles. and the 90 senior gentlemen of the Third Class receive 86 rubles.
Bogus Orders of Saint Stanislas
A number of pseudo-orders claiming to be continuations of the original Imperial Order exist. While several of these may be worthy philanthropic organizations, and one even boasts "Royal Patronage" by morganatic descendants of the Russian Imperial House, none of them are recognized as legitimate Orders of Chivalry. Only the Russian Imperial Order of St. Stanislas, awarded by Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna is recognized as a legitimate Order of Chivalry, and the direct continuation of the pre-Revolutionary order, recognized by the International Commission on Orders of Chivalry, the Augustan Society, and Burke's Peerage, among some other official bodies.
Images of order insignia