Andreevsky Flag was the main ship ensign of Russian Fleet. It represented the white right angled cloth crossed diagonally by two blue stripes. They form an oblique angle cross which was named Andreevsky. This explained the Flag's name.
Symbolism of Andreevsky Flag was deeply rooted. Apostle Andrei was own brother of Apostle Peter - Peter's protector. And tsar Peter I considered him also his divine protector. Both brothers fished in the Galilee Sea what meant their bearing on marine trad e. Andrei was the first who was called up by Christ. Because of that he was named Pervozvanny (first-called). According with Gospel legend Apostle Andrei also made the round of lands settled with Slavs. In Kiev he placed the pectoral Cross then he reached Novgorod and not far from it on the bank of the Volkhov he also placed the pectoral Cross (now it's village Gruzino where Andreevsky Temple was built). Apostle Andrei became famous for being a tireless traveler-preacher of Christianity. His life was crow ned with martyr's death- crucifixion on the Cross.
Honoring of Apostle Andrei in Russia and Peter's special attitude to him were expressed in the first Russian Order (named Andreevsky) instituted by Peter I in 1696. The principal part of the Order was Andrei's figure crucified on the Cross. Till 1917 this Order on the blue ribbon stayed the main and the most honorable decoration.
Symbolism of Andreevsky Flag was also Peter's contribution to his father - tsar Alexei Mikhailovich who instituted the special flag - dark red two-headed eagle on white-blue-red cloth - for the first military Russian vessel - three-mast galiot "Eagle".
Having become a tsar Peter I gave much attention to elaboration of flag's designs. In 1692 he drew two drafts. There were three parallel stripes with inscription "white", "blue", "red" on one of the drafts. The second one was the same colors with Andreevs ky Cross above it. In 1693 and 1695 the second draft was included in some international atlases as the flag of "Moskovia" . From 1692 till 1712 Peter I drew eight drafts of the flag. As one could see from etchings each one consecutively was realized and u sed in Fleet. The last (eighth) and final version was described by Peter I :"Flag is white, across it there is blue Andreevsky Cross for the sake of that Russia was christened by him".
In such form Andreevsky Flag spread above Russian Fleet till November 1917.
Beginning with Peter's days the meaning of the regulations' thesis "All Russian warships must not haul down the ensign before anybody".
On January 17, 1992 the Russian Government passed a resolution about returning status to Andreevsky Flag. On Saturday, February 15, 1992 Andreevsky Flag was sanctified in St.Petersburg Nikolo-Bogoyavlensky Cathedral. The commander of naval base vice-admir al V.E.Selinavov took the Flag and gave it to the guard of honor drew up in front of the Cathedral.
On July 26 - the Navy's Day - there was ceremony of hauling down the Soviet Navy Flag and hoisting Andreevsky Flag on all ships of Russian Fleet.
The above materiales are by kind permission of publishing house "All Petersburg".