Medieval Armenian city, 20 miles east of Kars, Turkey; the capital of Armenia under the Bagratuni dynasty (885–1079) and the seat of the Armenian patriarchs between 992 and 1072. The city, which is now in ruins, was built on a triangular promontory between mountain crags and surrounded by the Aladja-Tchaï (Akhourian) and Arpa-Tchaï Rivers. It was acquired by the satrap family of Kamsarakans from the King of Armenia, Ashot Mesaker (806–826); and its fortifications were built by Ashot III the Merciful (952–977), who transferred his residence there from Erazgavor. Smpat II (977–989) enlarged and beautified the city, had himself crowned there, and used it as his capital. Before his death the foundations for the cathedral were laid by the architect Tiridates.
A synod was held in Ani (c. 969) in which Bishop Ter Khatchik Archaruni and Abbot Stephen of Sevan, along with many bishops, abbots and priests, condemned the legitimate catholicos, Vahan (967–969), and with the assent of the king replaced him with Stephen of Sevan (969–971). Vahan was accused of Western and Catholic sympathies in his attempt to achieve a union with the Greeks by favoring the faith of the Council of Chalcedon.
Catholicos Ter Khatchik I Archaruni (971–992) prepared Ani to be the patriarchal see. He had been elected to replace Stephen in 971 and proved a strict Monophy-site in controversy with Sion, the Armenian bishop of Se-baste and John of Larissa. However, Khatchik I seems to have mitigated his Monophysite doctrine, despite his acerbity, in an exchange of controversial views with Theodore, the Greek metropolitan of Sebaste. His successor, Sargis I (992–1019), transported his residence from Arkina to Ani (993) and consecrated Peter Guetadartz (1019–54) as his successor. Both Peter and Khatchik II of Ani (10547–60) resided there intermittently.
A second synod was held at Ani in 1039 under the leadership of Joseph, Catholicos of the Aghovans. He reestablished Peter Guetadartz in the Armenian Patriarchate and deposed the Abbot Dioscorus of Sanahin, whom King John Bagratuni had imposed on the see. Ani was used as a residence by Basil I (1105–13), the nephew and coadjutor of Catholicos Gregory II. Basil is considered to have been a legitimate catholicos in contradistinction to Basil II, who had proclaimed himself patriarch in 1195, when Gregory VI Apirat established his residence at Hromcla on the Euphrates. After the transfer of the catholicate from Ani, the resident priests and monks became intransigent opponents of the Chalcedonian doctrine and refused every effort at achieving religious unity.
After being sacked several times, Ani suffered an earthquake in 1319 and was practically abandoned. Although the city had been magnificently adorned, ancient descriptions of its beauty and the number of its inhabitants were greatly exaggerated; this is true likewise of the oath by which its citizens swore on its 1,001 churches (Matthew of Edessa, Chron. 2.88). However, excavations at the beginning of the 20th century revealed a splendid collection of monuments, particularly the royal palace and numerous chapels and churches. As a commercial center on the route between the Orient and Asia Minor, the city had achieved the height of prosperity under King Gagik I (989–1020) and was celebrated in legends and chronicles of the Armenian historians.
The Armenian historians Agathangelus, Phaustus and M. Khorenensis speak of a second Ani (Ani-Gamakh), the fortress situated to the southwest of Eriza on the Euphrates River, where Artaxias I collected his treasures and where many of the Arsacid kings were buried. gregory the Illuminator destroyed a statue of Jove there and burned many books connected with Armenian mythology. In 681 George the Bishop of Ani-Gamakh subscribed the acts of the Council of Constantinople III, and he also took part in the Council in Trullo (692).
Bibliography: f. tournebize, Histoire politique et religieuse de l'Arménie, v.1 (Paris 1910) 126–139; Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques, ed., a. baudrillart et al., (Paris 1912–) 3:270–271. h. f. b. lynch, Armenia: Travels and Studies, 2 v. (London 1901) 1:354–392. j. j. m. de morgan, Histoire du peuple arménien (Paris 1919) 121–123. n. and m. thierry, Jardin des Arts, 65 (1960) 132–145. l. m. alishan, Description of Shirak (Venice 1881), in Armenian. a. vrouir, The Labors and Excavations of Professor N. Mar in Ani, 1905–1906 (Houscharar 6; Tiflis). stephanus of taron, Armenische Geschichte, tr. h. gelzer and a. burckhardt (Leipzig 1907). a. ter-mikelian, Die armenische Kirche in ihren Beziehungen zur Byzantinischen (vom IV. bis zum XIII. Jahrhundert) (Leipzig 1892). s. lyonnet, Recherches de science religieuse, 25 (1935) 170–187.
[n. m. setian]