On the Day of Motherland Heroes — items from the St George dinnerware set

The Day of Motherland Heroes is marked in Russia on the 9th of December.  This holiday existed back in pre-revolutionary Russia and was called the Day of St George's Cavaliers. The commemorative date was established again at the suggestion of political principals in 2007. "We not only pay tribute to the memory of our heroic ancestors, but also honour the living Heroes of the Soviet Union, Heroes of the Russian Federation, holders of the Order of St. George and the Order of Glory," the explanatory note to the bill said.

The date of the holiday is timed to the day of the Christian saint, the Great Martyr George the Victorious. On this day, December 9 (November 26, O.S.) 1769, Empress Catherine II established the highest military award — the Order of St. George. The document on the establishment of this award noted "This order will be named: the military order of St. George the Great Martyr and Victorious". The statute also stated, "This Order never to be removed, as it is acquired by merit". The Order was awarded to soldiers, who demonstrate special bravery in battle; the award had 4 degrees of honour, the first of which was considered the highest. The first order-bearer was Catherine II herself. Cavaliers of the Order of St George were more than 10 thousand people, 25 people received the highest degree of the Order, four of them were awarded all four degrees of the Order. Full Cavaliers of the Order of St George were Mikhail Kutuzov, Michael Barclay de Tolly, Ivan Paskevitch-Erivansky and Hans Karl von Diebitsch.
Throughout its history, the Order of St George gave the awardees a colossal advantage — the right to receive hereditary nobility. Moreover, it could be received by every cavalier, regardless of the degree of the award, which he was honoured with. In 1807, the Insignia of the Military Order of Saint George was established for lower ranks, which was worn on a ribbon of the same colours as the Order. It was awarded for outstanding bravery shown in battle against the enemy. The insignia of the Military Order, in addition to the official one, received other names: St George's Cross of the 5th degree, soldier's St George's Cross, soldier's George ("Egoriy") and others. Cavaliers of the soldier's "Egoriy" got rid of all corporal punishments. It was possible to earn a soldier's Cross of St George only by performing a military feat, for example, capturing an enemy banner or standard, taking an enemy officer or general prisoner, being the first to enter an enemy fortress during an assault or boarding an enemy ship. Lower rank, who saved the life of his commander in combat conditions, could receive this award. Statute of the Order of St George never contained prohibitions to award regimental and naval priests with it, and yet, for a century and a half only 16 regimental priests got it.

After the October Revolution, according to the decree of the Council of People's Commissars dated December 16, 1917 and signed by Vladimir "On the Equalisation of All Servicemen in Rights", orders and other insignia, including the Cross of St George, were abolished. Already in the Soviet times, there was the Order of Glory with a ribbon, the colours of which almost completely coincided with the colours of St. George and the medal "For victory over Germany in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945".

In March 1992, the Order of St George and the Cross of St George were restored by the Decree of the Supreme Soviet of the Russian Federation Presidium. On August 8, 2000, the President of Russia approved a new statute of the Order of St. George and the Regulations on the insignia — St. George's Cross. Those awards are accompanied by the St George ribbon, which during the Soviet era was called the Guards ribbon.

The St George's Ribbon was established by Catherine II during the Russian-Turkish War of 1768-1774 to encourage loyalty, bravery and prudence. The ribbon was supplemented by the motto: "For service and bravery". The description of the Order ribbon was as follows: "Silk ribbon of three black and two yellow stripes". From the point of view of heraldry yellow and orange colours are one and the same and are considered as a shade of gold. These colours that are now named when referring to the colours of the St. George's Ribbon. In December 2022, the Federation Council of the Russian Federation approved a law recognising the St. George Ribbon as a symbol of military glory.

Until 1917, annual ceremonial receptions on the occasion of the Order holiday, were held on December 9. St. George the Victorious Order porcelain set was used for tose festive dinners and receptions. It was created by order of Catherine II (factory Gardner, 1777-1778) throughout the 19th century, at various factories in Russia “additions” were made to replace the lost items.

We suggest you to consider some items from the service, presented in the museum Collection section "Russian glass art and ceramic art".

Flat plate from the service of St. George the Victorious Order. Russian Empire, Verbilki settlement, Dmitrovsky district, Moscow province. Gardner factory, upon the project of Gavriil Kozlov. 1777-1778

Leaf-shaped dessert vase from the service of St. George the Victorious OrderGardner factory, upon the project of Gavriil Kozlov. Russian Empire, Verbilki settlement, Dmitrovsky district, Moscow province. 1777-1778

Flat plate from the service of Order of St. George the Victorious (“addition” to the Order service of Franz Gardner manufactory). Imperial Glass Factory. Russian Empire, Saint-Petersburg. 1892