Order of St. Sava

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Royal Order of St. Sava
Star of the Serbian Order of St. Sava
Awarded by Kingdom of Serbia
Kingdom of Yugoslavia
Serbian Orthodox Church
TypeState Order (1883-1945)
Church Order (since 1985)
Established23 January 1883
RibbonWhite with Light Blue stripes on either side
EligibilityCivilians, military members (since 1914).
CriteriaMeritorious achievements in the arts, science, education and religion
Knight Grand Cross
Next (higher)Order of the Cross of Takovo
(Kingdom of Serbia, 1883-1903)
Order of the White Eagle
Order of the Yugoslav Crown
(Kingdom of Yugoslavia, 1930-1945)

The Ribbon of the Order

The Royal Order of St. Sava is an Order of merit, first awarded by the Kingdom of Serbia in 1883 and later by the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, and the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. It was awarded to nationals and foreigners for meritorious achievements in the field of religion, education, science and the arts as well as for social and relief work. The order was abolished in 1945 with the proclamation of the People’s Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the end of the monarchy.

It continues as a dynastic order, with appointments currently made by Alexander, Crown Prince of Yugoslavia.

An homonymous order was established in 1985, conferred by the Serbian Orthodox Church to ecclesiastic and secular persons with special merits.

History of the state order[edit]

The Order of Saint Sava was established by Milan I of Serbia, four years after the country gained independence and its transformation from a principality into a kingdom in March 1882. It was first awarded in January 1883 to recognised civilians for meritorious achievements benefitting the Church, the arts and sciences, the royal house, and the state. In 1914, a change to the Order was made to allow soldiers of the Serbian Army who served with distinction to receive the honour, as well as to women for war merit and humanity[1] The Order of St. Sava was thereafter awarded by the kings of Serbia and its successor Yugoslavia until the abolition of the monarchy in 1945.[2]

Five grades were awarded:

  • Knight Grand Cross
  • Knight
  • Grand Officer
  • Commander
  • Officer

The first grade was a jewel, worn with a sash over the shoulder and also with a breast star. The second and third-grade laureates wore the Order on a neckband. The fourth grade was a medal with a triangular suspension, a rosette attached to the ribbon above the medal. The fifth grade had a triangular suspension without a rosette. The medals of the fourth and fifth grades were worn on the breast. All white ribbons had two light blue stripes.[3][4]

Several Order of St. Sava were bestowed to members of the British medical team during the First World War for "humanity and gallantry performed under fire", after their volunteer medical units followed the Serbian army during the Great Retreat through the mountains of Albania.[1]

History of the church order[edit]

Since 1985, the Order has been awarded on the occasion of the 800th anniversary of St. Sava. This order is dedicated to ecclesiastic and secular persons, who have special merits for the Serbian Orthodox Church. According to the ordinance of the church, each person who received a medal of third grade may receive the medal of the higher grade as well as the first grade for future merits, provided that three years have passed at least since the previous award. The order is determined in three grades: the first one is white, the second red and the third blue coloured.[5]

Laureates of the state[edit]

Order of Saint Sava grand cross badge, 1890, Tallinn Museum of Orders

Laureates of the church[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Clarke, J. (2000). Gallantry Medals & Decorations of the World. Leo Cooper/Pen & Sword Books' Collectors. Leo Cooper. ISBN 978-0-85052-783-4.
  2. ^ Orders & Medals Research Society (1967). Orders & Medals: The Journal of the Orders & Medals Research Society. Orders and Medals Research Society.
  3. ^ Orders and Medals Society of America, Medal collector No. 20/1969, About the Order
  4. ^ Official website of the Serbian Royal Family, About the Order Archived 2012-10-23 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Centre for Research of Orthodox Monarchism, About the Church Order
  6. ^ "Foreign News-Belgrade". The Reform Advocate. Vol. LVI, no. 12. Chicago, I.L. 23 April 1921. p. 285 – via Google Books.
  7. ^ Burnand, Robert (1924). Qui êtes-vous? (in French). Paris: G. Ruffy. p. 19.
  8. ^ Hughes, Beryl. "Agnes Elizabeth Lloyd Bennett". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 3 October 2022.
  9. ^ Tremblay, Yves (2005). "BAYLOCK, HARRY WOODBURN". Dictionary of Canadian Biography. Vol. 15. University of Toronto/Université Laval.
  10. ^ Acović 2013, p. 592
  11. ^ Acović 2013, p. 596
  12. ^ Acović 2013, p. 595
  13. ^ University of Edinburgh, Untold stories of people during First World War
  14. ^ Barrett Litoff, Judy. European Immigrant Women in the United States. p. 112.
  15. ^ a b c d e f for SRBIN info, Milica (2019-10-08). "Tesla, Palma, Djokovic, Kusturica, Karić: All Decorated With The Order Of Sv. Sava". СРБИН.ИНФО (in Serbian). Retrieved 2020-01-06.
  16. ^ Helen Keller Artifact Collection Archived 2017-08-06 at the Wayback Machine, American Foundation for the Blind
  17. ^ Acović 2013, p. 628
  18. ^ Mandić 2020, p. 27.
  19. ^ Acović 2013, p. 344
  20. ^ Barun 2018.
  21. ^ London Gazette
  22. ^ Radulovic, Nemanja. "Rerihov pokret u Kraljevini Jugoslaviji". Godišnjak Katedre za srpsku književnost sa južnoslovenskim književnostima, XI, 2016.
  23. ^ "Vreme - Kultura i politika: Selidba trajne pozajmice". www.vreme.com.
  24. ^ Acović 2013, p. 369
  25. ^ Ward, Fiona. "Jessie Ann Scott". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 23 April 2017.
  26. ^ Tesla Society Switzerland, Man Who Illuminated The Planet, p. 7
  27. ^ Katherine Storr (2009). Excluded from the Record: Women, Refugees, and Relief, 1914-1929. Peter Lang. pp. 215–. ISBN 978-3-03911-855-7.
  28. ^ Association of Serbian Banks, Knight of Serbia, Georg I. Weifert p. 181
  29. ^ Gale, Cengage Learning (2016). A Study Guide for Rebecca West's "Black Lamb and Grey Falcon: A Journey through Yugoslavia". p. 7. ISBN 9781410341457.
  30. ^ "Aleksandr Karelin, Order of St Sava: Neka Bog čuva Srbiju i Rusiju..." www.novosti.rs (in Serbian (Latin script)).
  31. ^ Acović 2013, p. 601
  32. ^ "Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin awarded the Serbian Orthodox Church's highest distinction | Serbian Orthodox Church [Official website]".