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sapr-

Order of St. Andrew

For the Barbados honour, see Order of St. Andrew (Barbados); for the Eastern Orthodox Christian honour, see Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
The Order of St. Andrew the First-Called (Орден святого апостола Андрея Первозванного) was the first and the highest order of chivalry of the Russian Empire.

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 had only one class, and was only awarded for the most eminent civilian or military merit.

Fyodor Golovin was the first cavalier of the order. Until its abolition after the Russian Revolution of 1917, just over one thousand awards were 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 degree, and the Order St. Stanislaus, first degree. Moreover, recipients of lower ranks were automatically promoted to the rank of lieutenant-general or vice admiral.

The insignia of the order consisted of:

  • Badge: an enamelled 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' (for 'St. Andrew, Protector of Russia'). It was worn on a pale blue riband (sash) over the left 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 centre, surrounded by the motto "For Faith and Loyalty" ("Za Veru i Vernost") on a blue ring. It was worn on the left chest.

The insignia of order could be awarded 'with diamonds' as a special distinction. The St. Andrew's Cathedral, St. Petersburg was the chapter church of this chivalric order.

Russian Federation

The original St. Andrew is extinct as House Order of the former ruling house of Russia, the Romanovs, after the death of the last official heir.

The order was first unofficially re-established by the Orthodox Church of Russia on December 27 1988 with the same name, but different insignia and statutes. It was officially re-instated as the highest civilian and military award of the Russian Federation by Presidential Decree No. 576 on July 1, 1998.

Among the first recipients of the Order after its re-establishment were academic Dmitry Likhachev, gun designer Mikhail Kalashnikov and Kazakhstan president Nursultan Nazarbayev.

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