The "Jewel" (Badge) of the Imperial Order of St. Andrew, obverse (left) and reverse (right)
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. It also saved the state land and money.
Count 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.
Recipients (partial list)