Rus Articles Journal

Order of St. Catherine. How Russian ladies favored awards for merits of husbands?

At midday on November 24, 1714 stately St. Petersburg was flown down to the imperial palace. Not just next celebration of a name day of the spouse of Peter I, and an event for Russia exclusive - the first rewarding with specially founded female Order of St. Catherine the Great Martyr was necessary.

The first in Russia ladies` Svobozhdeniya`s (Release) award was conceived by Petr in 1713 in memory of Ekaterina`s participation in the Prutsky campaign, unsuccessful for the Russian troops. Directed by Petr 40 - the thousand army was surrounded with the Turkish troops surpassing strengths of Russians almost five times in 1711. Petr was forced to go for negotiations. Pyotr Shafirov undertook to execute the most difficult mission. As he managed to convince the vizier to take a solid payoff and to sign the truce accepted for Russians, there is no mention. But Ekaterina sharing with the husband of difficulty of a fighting campaign offered on bribery of the Turkish military leaders all the jewelry.

After official establishment the award received the new name in honor of the Saint great martyr Catherine of Alexandria; it was the thin, well thought over by Petr step directed to consolidation of the authority and the importance of the empress with whose name the new award was associated. During lifetime of Petr Ekaterina remained the only owner of an award. Having come to the throne after death of the husband, she began to favor an award to representatives of the highest nobility. The first Anna and Elizabeth, and then seven more ladies of the high society received an award of the daughter of Petr. At Elizabeth Petrovna of winners became already 13, and Catherine II handed award signs to 41 ladies.

St Catherine`s award received the final statute in April, 1797 when Paul I approved Establishment about the Russian imperial awards. This award - only of the Russian awards completely corresponding to traditions of the European medal organizations, as the closed structures with the regulated number of members and rigid hierarchy. Awarded the order not so much as a medal, how many reckoning to an award, that is inclusion in the special organization for the elected persons close to the empress and, respectively, to a throne. And medal signs showed what place takes awarded in this exclusive structure.

Traditionally the empress headed an award, being its ordensmeyster. The rank of a namestnitsa (diakonissa) following on the importance was occupied by the spouse of the successor of a throne or the first of grand duchesses. The award was divided into two degrees. The big cross awarded all princesses of an imperial surname and 12 ladies from the immediate environment of the empress; 94 dames at the same time could have a small cross.

The sign of the highest degree of an award rushed on the The White Ribbon which is put on through the right shoulder to it the eight-pointed star covered with diamonds relied. Dames carried the award on a white bow on which the motto " was embroidered; For love and the fatherland . Subsequently Paul I changed color of a medal tape, and it became red with a silver border.

The award, as a rule, " was handed; in attention to merits the husband, and ladies " could get him; honest, God-fearing, shlyakhetsky urozhdeniye . However, sometimes these requirements were in a conflict with reality. So, in 1808 awarded with awards of wives of the generals who caused a stir in war with Napoleon, but among them there was no princess Bagration. In St. Petersburg reasonably began to doubt in it honesty and fear of God as well knew that the princess lives abroad for a long time, not especially caring for marital fidelity and honor of the husband. As a result scandal ran high, and the famous general was even going to resign, having considered that the serious offense is caused it, and his military valor is called into question. She should be awarded because she is my wife! - categorically the prince declared.

For all the time of existence of an award its signs carried slightly more than 730 representatives of the most notable childbirth of Russia. But in 1727 ladies` awarded the order thirteen-year-old the prince Alexander Menshikov, Alexander Danilovich`s son gofmarshat. There are two versions of this funny case. It is more probable that the lightest prince was flattered on diamonds which decorated medal signs. But it is not excluded that Ekaterina decided to beat the nickname maiden which the pretty and timid young prince had in court circles. However it did not prevent it to cause a stir in several military campaigns subsequently and even to become the general - anshefy.

In Russia, by way of exception, the woman could receive and other award, but it already from area of unique cases. So, in the years of World War I, the sister of mercy Raisa (Rimma) Ivanova who after death of officers assumed command of a company is posthumously awarded by the Order of Saint George 4 class. The same award, but 1 degrees, Catherine II assigned to herself.

The modern tradition is connected with an award to tie up newborn girls over a blanket a red tape. The matter is that great princesses received an award and a medal tape at a baptism. The highest dignitaries, wishing to the daughters of achievement of court tops, began to tie up them after a baptism the red tape similar to medal. Soon the tradition extended in all noble environment, and then passed also to petty bourgeoises. The blue tape for newborn boys corresponds, by analogy, a tape of an award of Andrew the First-Called.