On September, 22 (October, 3) 1782 the Order of Saint Prince Vladimir was established by Empress Catherine II on the day of the 20th anniversary of her reign in order to commemorate the 800 anniversary of Christianization of Kievan Rus’. The Order had four degrees and was awarded for civil and military service. Its motto was – “Benefit, Honor and Glory”.
St. Vladimir Order resembled St. George’s Cross and was a red cross with black and golden borders, which was born on the ribbon, thrown over the right shoulder and an octagonal star, which was fastened on the left side of the chest (whereas St. George’s Order represented a quadrangular star).
The holder of St. Vladimir Order was not allowed to take it off. When awarded with the other Orders of higher rank he could just change its place on the uniform.
The first class of the Order was awarded only at the Monarch’s discretion according to the hierarchy of State decorations of Russia. In this hierarchy St. Vladimir Order was the fourth following the Order of Alexander Nevsky, although the first class of St. Vladimir Order followed immediately the Order of St. Andrew the Apostle.
The Order of Saint Prince Vladimir, the 1st Class could have been awarded to civil servants or military officers holding the rank not lower than the 3rd according to the Table of Ranks (Privy Councilor, Lieutenant-General or Vice-Admiral); the 2nd Class – not lower than the 4th (Actual Civil (State) Councilor, Major General, Counter Admiral); the 3rd Class – not lower than the 5th (Civil (State) Councilor, Brigadier, Captain-Commodore) and the 4th Class – not lower than the 7th (Court Councilor, Sub-Colonel, Captain, 2nd rank).
Among the holders of the First class of St. Vladimir Order were the Hero of Battle of Chesma I. A. Hannibal, famous military officers I. A. Igelstrom, V. P. Musin-Pushkin, M. S. Potyomkin, I. G. Chernyshyov; the distinguished civil servants I. I. Shuvalov and A.A. Bezborodko. The holders of St. Vladimir Order were also P. A. Rumyantsev-Zadunaisky, G. A. Potyomkin, N. V. Repnin, Z. G. Chernyshyov, N. I. Panin, I. I. Betskoy etc. In 1783 A. V. Suvorov was also awarded with the 1st Class of the St. Vladimir Order.
After the October Revolution 1917 the Order of Saint Prince Vladimir was abolished.
Lit.: Дуров В. Ордена России. М., 1993; Орден Святого Равноапостольного Князя Владимира [Электронный ресурс] // Награды Императорской России 1702-1917 гг. 2003-2015. URL: http://medalirus.ru/rus-ordena/orden-svyatogo-vladimira.php; Шепелев Л. Е. Титулы, мундиры, ордена в Российской империи. Л., 1991; Шишков С. Награды России. 1698-1917. Т. 2. М., 2003.
From the Presidential library materials:
Квадри В. В., Конаржевский К. Г. Российские императорские и царские ордена: краткий исторический очерк, выдержки из орденских статутов и правила ношения орденов по поручению канцлера российских императорских и царских орденов. СПб., 1901.