Order of St. Alexander Nevsky

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Imperial Order of Saint Alexander Nevsky
Star to Order St Alexander Nevsky embroidered.jpg
Star of the Order
Awarded by Greater coat of arms of the Russian empire.png Head of the House of Romanov
Type Dynastic Order
Royal house House of Romanov
Religious affiliation Russian Orthodox
Ribbon Bright Red.
Motto "For Labor and the Fatherland"
Awarded for Military and Civil Merit
Status Rarely constituted
Sovereign Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna of Russia
Grades (w/ post-nominals) Knight Grand Cordon, Special Class
Knight/Dame Grand Cordon
Knight/Dame Grand Officer
Knight/Dame Grand Commander
Knight/Dame Commander
Knight/Dame Officer
Knight/Dame
Medal
Established 1 June [O.S. 21 May] 1725
1725 – 1918 (National Order)
1918 - Present (House Order)
Precedence
Next (higher) Imperial Order of St. Catherine
Next (lower) Imperial Order of the White Eagle
RUS Order of St. Alexander Nevsky BAR.png
The 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]

History[edit]

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]

Legacy[edit]

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.

The heads of the Russian Imperial House in exile have continued to award the Order of St. Alexander Nevsky. HIH Maria Vladimirovna, a pretender to the Russian throne and to the headship of the Russian Imperial House, continues to award a Russian Imperial Order of Saint Alexander Nevsky as a dynastic order of knighthood.[3] These actions are disputed by most or all other members of the Romanov family.[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]

Insignia[edit]

References[edit]