Order of Saint Alexander (Bulgaria)

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For Russian Imperial Order, see Order of St. Alexander Nevsky.
Royal Order of Saint Alexander
Царски орден на свети Александър
Орден Св. Александръ с голямо огърлие.jpg
Collar of the Order
Awarded by Tsar of Bulgaria standard.svg The King of the Bulgarians
Type Dynastic Order
Royal house House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha-Koháry
Religious affiliation Bulgarian Orthodox
Ribbon Red.
Eligibility Bulgarian and Foreign citizens
Awarded for Awarded with the personal benevolence of the monarch
Status Rarely Currently constituted
Sovereign King Simeon II
Grades Knight Grand Cross with Collar
Knight/Dame Grand Cross with Chain
Knight/Dame Grand Cross
Knight/Dame Grand Officer
Knight/Dame Commander
Knight/Dame Officer
Knight/Dame
Silver Cross
Statistics
Established 21 December 1881
1881 - 1946 (National Order)
1946 - present (House Order)
Precedence
Next (higher) Royal Order of Saints Cyril and Methodius
Next (lower) Royal Order of Bravery
Пластина на орден „Св. Александръ“.jpg
The ribbon of the Order

The Order of St Alexander (Bulgarian: Орден "Свети Александър") was the second highest Bulgarian order during the Kingdom of Bulgaria. It was established by Knyaz Alexander I and named after his patron saint (Alexander Nevsky).

History[edit]

The order was established with a decree on 25 December 1881, in honour of the patron saint of Alexander Battenberg. Initially it was planned to have five grades and a Necklace but subsequently four grades and Grand and Lesser Necklace were formed and in 1908 a Grand Cross was added. With time wartime grades with swords in the middle and above the cross were added. The order was awarded to Bulgarian and foreign citizens with the personal benevolence of the Bulgarian monarch, who was the Grand Master.

Description[edit]

The order had a white enamelled cross pattée with golden or silver edges according to the grade. On the pendant of the obverse there was a stylized inscription with the name of the order and on the surrounding ring there was the motto СЪ НАМИ БОГЪ (God with us) with laurel wreaths below. On the reverse there was a while background with inscription 19 ФЕВРАЛЪ 1878 (18 February 1878) - the date of the signing of the Treaty of San Stefano. Atop the cross was a royal crown. The first grade was worn with a crimson moire ribbon over the right shoulder with a rosette in the edge. It had its own eight-ray silver star with the obverse of the order placed in the middle.

The Grand necklace consisted of thirty interconnected medallions with crowned lions, alternated with the monogram of the founder Knyaz Alexander I and eight edges Orthodox Cross. There was a special issue with two field marshal's batons which belonged to Tsar Ferdinand.

The Lesser Necklace was similar to the Grand Necklace but in smaller size.

The Grand Cross, established in 1908, was also similar to the initial issue but the cross was enamelled in green and in the middle of the pendant was placed a crowned Bulgarian lion. The star was of similar design with green ring around the crowned lion on red background.

The other grades are like the first issue but smaller in size. The sixth grade was made in silver without enamel over the shoulders of the cross.

The Ottoman sultans Abdul Hamid II and Mehmed V were respectively awarded the Grand and Lesser Necklace of the Order of St Alexander with diamonds. They are currently kept in the collection of the Topkapı Palace in Istanbul.

Grades[edit]

  • Great Cross of the Order of St Alexander, Grand and Lesser Necklace
  • I grade, Grand Cross. Awarded to senior state officers and military personnel.It was worn with a scarf over the shoulder.
  • II grade, Grand Officer Cross. The cross was with white enamel, it was worn with red ribbon and had a star.
  • III grade, Commander Cross. The cross was with white or green enamel (according to the emission), it was worn with red ribbon and had no star.
  • IV grade, Officer Cross. The cross was with white enamel, it was worn on the chest with triangle red ribbon with rosette, it had no star.
  • V grade, Officer Cross. The cross was with white enamel, it was worn on the chest with triangle red ribbon, it had no star.
  • VI grade, Silver Cross. The cross was made of silver with no enamel, it was worn on the chest with triangle red ribbon, it had no star.

Recipients of the order[edit]

Sources[edit]

  • „Каталог Български ордени и медали“. Веселин Денков
  • „Българските ордени и медали 1878 - 2002“. Тодор Петров
  • „Ордени и медали в България“. 1998 Тодор Петров
  • „Българска Енциклопедия от А-Я“. 2005 Авторски колектив към БАН