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Order of St. Andrew

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Imperial Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle the First-Called
Орден Святого апостола Андрея Первозванного
Grand Collar (Star and Collar) set of the Imperial Order.
Awarded by
Russia The Head of the House of Romanov
TypeOrder of Knighthood
MottoЗа веру и верность
"For Faith and Loyalty"
StatusRarely constituted
SovereignGrand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna
Grand MasterGrand Duke George Mikhailovich
GradesKnight[citation needed]
First induction1698 Count Fyodor Golovin
Last induction2024 Narendra Modi
Next (higher)Hero of the Russian Federation
Next (lower)Order of Saint Alexander Nevsky
Order of Saint Catherine

Ribbon of the order

The Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle the First-Called (Russian: Орден Святого апостола Андрея Первозванного, romanizedOrden Svyatogo apostola Andreya Pervozvannogo) is the highest order conferred by both the Russian Imperial Family (as an Order of Knighthood) and by the Russian Federation (as a state order). Established as the first and highest order of chivalry of the Russian Tsardom and the Russian Empire in 1698, it was removed from the honours system under the USSR before being re-established as the top Russian civil and military order in 1998.

Russian Empire




The Order was established in 1698 by Tsar Peter the Great, in honour of Saint Andrew, the first apostle of Jesus and patron saint of Russia. It was bestowed in a single class and was only awarded for the most outstanding civilian or military merit.

Peter learned of the practice of bestowing awards from his travels in the West during the Great Embassy. In the past, service to the Russian state was rewarded with money or large estates. He witnessed first hand the awards ceremonies for England's Order of the Garter and Austria's Order of the Golden Fleece and noticed the loyalty and pride of the awardees[citation needed]. It also saved the state land and money.

Count Fyodor Golovin was the first Knight of the order. Until the Russian Revolution of 1917, just over one thousand awards had been made. During the monarchy, Knights of the Order of St. Andrew also automatically were granted hereditary nobility and received the Order of St. Alexander Nevsky, the Order of the White Eagle, the Order of Saint Anna and the Order St. Stanislaus Knight Grand Cross. Moreover, recipients of lower ranks were automatically promoted to the rank of lieutenant general or vice admiral. The Order of Saint Andrew continues to be awarded by the Russian Imperial House in exile, with most recent investitures having been conferred in 2021. The first post-revolutionary presentation was to Prince Georgy Konstantinovich of Russia on attaining his dynastic majority in April 1923.[1][circular reference]

Due to a blue riband [ru] of the order, the French phrase Cordon Bleu, initially associated with Order of the Holy Spirit, also referred to knights St Andrew's order.[2][3]


Decoration with collar (left) and with sash and star (right)

The insignia of the order consisted of:

  • Badge: an enameled crowned black double-headed eagle bearing a blue St. Andrew's Cross (saltire) with St. Andrew crucified upon it; on the arms of the saltire were the Latin letters 'SAPR' ('St. Andrew, Patron of Russia'). It was worn on a pale blue sash over the right shoulder, or on special occasions on an elaborate 'collar' (chain).
  • Star: eight-pointed silver star bearing a miniature of the badge on a golden background at the center, surrounded by the motto "For Faith and Loyalty" (Russian: За веру и верность Za Veru i Vernost') on a blue ring. It was worn on the left chest.

The insignia of the order could be awarded "with diamonds" as a special distinction. Saint Andrew's Cathedral in Saint Petersburg was the chapter church of this order of chivalry.



List of notable Knights


Russian Federation

Order of St. Andrew the Apostle the First Called
Орден Святого апостола Андрея Первозванного
Star, Sash and Collar of the Modern Order of St. Andrew the Apostle the First Called
Awarded by
 the Russian Federation
TypeMilitary and Civilian Order
EstablishedOriginal: 1698
Re-establishment: 1998
MottoЗа веру и верность
"For Faith and Loyalty"
EligibilityProminent State and Public Figures
Awarded forOutstanding Service to the State
GradesGrand Cross with Collar
Next (higher)None
Next (lower)Order of St. George

Ribbon of the order

An order with the same name but with different insignia and statutes was first unofficially re-established by the Orthodox Church of Russia on December 27, 1988. The order was officially re-instated as the highest Russian civilian and military award by Presidential Decree No.757 on June 1, 1998.[4][5] The Order's award criteria were modified by Presidential Decree 1099 of September 7, 2010.[6][7]

Statute of the Order


The Order of St. Andrew the Apostle the First-Called is used to award prominent statesmen and public figures, eminent representatives of science, culture, the arts and various industries for exceptional services, for promoting the prosperity, grandeur and glory of Russia.[8]

The Order may also be awarded to foreign heads of states for outstanding service to the Russian Federation.[8]



The design of the insignia of the modern Order of St. Andrew has changed very little from the imperial design. It consists of:

  • a badge (double-headed eagle) attached to a chain (called a "collar") worn around the neck for very special circumstances, or more commonly on a 100 mm-wide blue sash worn over the right shoulder
  • a star worn on the left breast

The colour of the sash differs from the colour of the Imperial era, and resembles the shade of the sash of the British Order of the Garter. Members of the military division of the Order have crossed swords added below the crown above the two eagles' heads. On the reverse of the eagle on a white ribbon the motto of the Order appears inscribed in gold letters: «За веру и верность» ("For faith and loyalty").[8]



List of notable recipients


Select recipients:[9]

See also



  1. ^ ru:Пожалования титулов и орденов Российской империи после 1917 года
  2. ^ Венчание русских государей на царство. Couronnement des souverains Russes.
  3. ^ Jean-Henri Schnitzler. Secret History of the Court and Government of Russia Under the emperors Alexander and Nicholas
  4. ^ "Decree of the President of the Russian Federation of June 1, 1998, No 442" (in Russian). Commission under the President of the Russian Federation on state awards. 1999-12-15. Archived from the original on March 11, 2012. Retrieved 2012-02-11.
  5. ^ "О восстановлении ордена Святого апостола Андрея Первозванного". pravo.gov.ru.
  6. ^ "Decree of the President of the Russian Federation of September 7, 2010, No 1099" (in Russian). Russian Gazette. 2010-09-07. Retrieved 2012-02-11.
  7. ^ "О мерах по совершенствованию государственной наградной системы Российской Федерации". pravo.gov.ru.
  8. ^ a b c "Statute of the Order of St. Andrew the Apostle" (in Russian). Commission under the President of the Russian Federation on state awards. 1999-12-15. Retrieved 2012-02-11.
  9. ^ "Compiled from the site of the President of the Russian Federation" (in Russian). Kremlin News. Retrieved 2019-04-12.