Russian Imperial Corps of Pages: An Online Exhibition Catalog

Centennial Celebrations > Introduction

In October 1802, Alexander I decreed the foundation of the Corps of Pages as a military and Court school. Except by personal appointment of the Emperor or as the son of a Major-General killed in action, admission was by a difficult competitive examination. Only the sons or grandsons of those on the top three levels of the Table of Ranks were eligible. As one could rise in the Table of Ranks only by service to the state and anyone could rise by such service, the social and cultural backgrounds of these sons of Russia's ruling elite were not as uniform as we might expect today. All social and national groups were represented as well as most religions.

In the course of its existence, the Corps of Pages produced a long line of outstanding generals and statesmen. In the gold-and-black St. George's Hall adjoining the Orthodox chapel are names of over 80 former Pages who fell in battle and 103 names of those decorated with Russia's highest distinction for valor - the Officer's St. George's Cross. In 1902, the Corps of Pages celebrated its 100th anniversary.

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