Order of St. Alexander Nevsky

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Imperial Order of Saint Alexander Nevsky
Badge to Order St Alexander Nevsky 1820-1830.jpg
Badge of the Order of Saint Alexander Nevsky, c. 1820
Awarded by the  Russian Empire
Type Order
Awarded for military and civil merit
Status abolished
Description Gold cross, covered with red enamel, with two-headed eagles between the ends of the cross. Eight-pointed silver star.
Motto "For Labor and the Fatherland"
Established 1 June [O.S. 21 May] 1725
Last awarded 1917
Total awarded 3,674
RUS Order of St. Alexander Nevsky BAR.png
Ribbon of the Order
Portrait of the first Russian Minister of Finance, Alexei Vasiliyev, wearing the sash and badge of the Order of Saint Alexander Nevsky

The Imperial Order of Saint Alexander Nevsky was an order of chivalry of the Russian Empire first awarded on 1 June [O.S. 21 May] 1725 by Empress Catherine I of Russia.[1]


The introduction of the Imperial Order of Saint Alexander Nevsky was envisioned by Emperor Peter I of Russia for rewarding military bravery in battle. However, he died before he could create the order. It was established by Empress Catherine I of Russia, in memory of the deeds of Saint Alexander Nevsky, patron Saint of the Russian capital of Saint Petersburg, for defending Russia against foreign invaders. The order was originally awarded to distinguished Russian citizens who had served their country with honor, mostly through political or military service.[2]

It was first awarded on the occasion of the wedding of Grand Duchess Anna Petrovna of Russia and Charles Frederick, Duke of Holstein-Gottorp in 1725. A dozen guests received the reward, and the order quickly fell far behind the Order of Saint Andrew and the Order of Saint Catherine in prestige.[2][1]

The Empress Catherine complained about the situation and by September 1725, she took it upon herself to determine who would receive the award. The Order of Saint Alexander was granted the highest esteem and was not usually bestowed upon people below the rank of Lieutenant-General or an equal political status. Additionally it was , including Polish King Augustus II the Strong and King Frederick IV of Denmark–Norway[1]


The Order of Saint Alexander Nevsky was abolished after the 1917 Russian Revolution, along with all other orders and titles of the Russian Empire.

In 1942, the Soviet Union revived the order as a purely military decoration and renamed it the more secular Order of Alexander Nevsky, and the Russian Federation revived it in 2010.

Despite the fall of the monarchy, the Order of Saint Alexander Nevsky continues to be bestowed by claimants to the head of the House of Romanov. Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna of Russia, one of several who claim the throne,[3] "bestowed" the order on Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk (later Patriarch Kirill I of Moscow) on 27 January 2006.[4]

In 2010, researchers in Saint Petersburg and Moscow published a book of all the names of the recipients of the original order. The combined number of honorees spanning the years 1725 to 1917 totaled 3,674.[5]