Saint apostle Andrew the First-Called is one of the Orthodox saints who are the most revered by the Russians. The highest state Order of present-day Russia was named after him, and warships of the Russian Navy carry a flag with St. Andrew's cross on their masts. Of the twelve disciples of Christ Andrew was the first to follow the Son of God and was named First-Called for this. Apostle Andrew preached Christianity in different countries, having passed Asia Minor, Thrace, Macedonia, the Crimea, and the Black Sea area. He visited also the lands where Rus came into being and shaped up later, and installed a cross on the Dnieper. According to a legend, Kiev (the ancient capital of Rus and now the capital of Ukraine) later emerged in this place. On December 13, A.D.62 the apostle was crucified on a X-shaped cross at the Greek town of Patry for his preaching activity. On this day the Russian Orthodox Church honours the apostle's memory. Tsar-reformer Peter I (1672-1725) honoured St. Andrew the First-Called as his favourite saint and divine patron. He called the first Russian Order after him. The Order, abolished in Soviet time, was revived in democratic Russia as the highest state award in the country. Academician Dmitry Likhachev who was called "conscience of the nation" when he was alive, and arms designer Mikhail Kalashnikov who designed the famous Kalashnikov submachine-gun were the first to be decorated with the Order of Saint Apostle Andrew the First-Called.
The United States has imposed new sanctions against the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project, which still remains under construction