Paul I (Russian: Павел I Петрович; transliterated: Pavel Petrovich) reigned as Emperor of Russia between 1796 and 1801. Officially, he was the only son of Peter III (whom he resembled physically and by character) and of Catherine the Great, though Catherine hinted that he was fathered by her lover Sergei Saltykov, who also had Romanov blood, being a descendant of the first Romanov Tsar's sister, Tatiana Feodorovna Romanova.
Paul remained overshadowed by his mother for much of his life. His reign lasted five years, ending with his assassination by conspirators. He adopted the laws of succession to the Russian throne - rules that lasted until the end of the Romanov dynasty and of the Russian Empire.
He was also Grand Master of the Sovereign Order of the Knights Hospitaller from 1799 to 1801. With the fall of Malta to Napoleon's France, many of the knights who had hitherto governed the island fled to Russia where the Order had a Priory financed by Paul I. These knights elected him Grand Master of the Order in an irregular manner, since the resignation of Ferdinand von Hompecsh had not been received yet (it arrived the following year). Paul I was succeeded in that capacity by the Russian Prince Nykolay Saltykov.