Collection of Sovereign Orders
on Display in Moscow
150 foreign orders received by Russian emperors are on display at the Kremlin
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The Moscow Kremlin is showcasing a spectacular collection of orders bestowed on Russian tsars by foreign countries. The exhibition, called ďDecorated Sovereigns. Foreign Orders of Russian EmperorsĒ, is on from October 27th to March 9th.
The Director of the Moscow Kremlinís Museums Yelena Gagarina says that the newly launched exposition reflects the interests of contemporary society.
Orders draw a lot of public interest nowadays but there is little background information on them. The exhibition is one of a kind, many of the orders had never been on public display before. Besides the orders, the exhibits include statutes, documents and attire of the sovereigns decorated with these orders.
The gems of the collection are the Maltese Cross and the Crown of the Russian Emperor Paul I, who headed the Maltese Order after the French Revolution. The Moscow Kremlinís collection of orders began with Maltese insignia. In 1798 Emperor Paul I ordered the relinquary medallion of Saint John of Jerusalem to be kept in the Kremlinís Armory. Soon afterwards the other regalia of the Order of St.John of Jerusalem were moved to the Moscow Kremlin too.
The first Russian emperor to be decorated with a foreign order was Peter the Great. In 1712 he received the Danish Order of the Elephant and the Polish Order of the White Eagle in connection with Russiaís victory in the Northern War with Sweden.
A century later Emperor Alexander I was decorated with the Spanish Order of the Golden Fleece and the English-Welsh Order of the Garter. In 1812, Alexander was awarded with the French National Order of the Legion of Honor, which he received from Napoleon himself after the signing of the Treaty of Tilsit in 1807.
Foreign orders belonged to the empire and were kept in the Chapter of Imperial Orders after the sovereignís death. Sometimes the orders were sent to the countries they came from. Any monarch dreamed of earning the highest decoration of a foreign country. The exhibitionís curator Lyudmila Gavrilova comments.
Foreign sovereigns regarded Russian emperors that became cavaliers of knight orders as cousins in acknowledgement of their friendly disposition to Russia and its rulers.
Source: The Voice of Russia