The "Jewel" (Badge) of the Imperial Order of St. Andrew, obverse (left) and reverse (right)
The Order was established in 1698 by
Peter the Great, in honour of
Saint Andrew, the first
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
Order of the Golden Fleece and noticed the loyalty and pride of the awardees. It also saved the state land and money.
Fyodor Golovin was the first recipient of the order. Until its abolition following the
Russian Revolution of 1917, just over one thousand awards had been made. During the monarchy, recipients of the Order of St. Andrew also automatically received the
Order of St. Alexander Nevsky, the
Order of the White Eagle, the
Order of St. Anne first class, and the
Order St. Stanislaus first class. Moreover, recipients of lower ranks were automatically promoted to the rank of
lieutenant general or
vice admiral. The Order of Saint Andrew continued to be awarded by the Russian Imperial House in exile. The first post revolutionary presentation was to HH
Prince Georgy Konstantinovich of Russia on attaining his dynastic majority in April 1923.
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: 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.
Recipient of Order of St. Andrew the Apostle the First-Called uses the post-nominal letters "KA". When an individual is entitled to use multiple post-nominal letters, those of the Order of St. Andrew the Apostle the First-Called appear before all others, except for international Orders of the equal status to the Order of St. Andrew which were created before 1698 (creation date of the order Imperial Order of St. Andrew). For example, if one is awarded
Order of the Garter, in that case, post-nominals of "KG" (Order of the Garter) would be used before "KA" (Order of St. Andrew) because the Order of the Garter was created in 1348.
Recipients (partial list)