AKANTS ANAPAT (Armenian: Ականց Անապատ), Akner Monastery, one of the oldest monasteries of the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia, the largest center  of miniature and science. It was located on the border of Tsakhut (Armenian: Ցախուտ) and Bardzrberd (Armenian: Բարձրբերդ) provinces, near the fortress of Bardzrberd and village of Akner -the area of numerous brooks. The name was derived from akn, akner, akunq (Armenian: ակն, ակներ, ակունք) that mean "spring". The monastery was built by King Levon II in 1198–1203 and consecrated by the Armenian Catholicos  Grigor VI Apirat. 

During the period of political and military power of the Armenian Kingdom of Cicilia the monastery was functioning as a diplomatic and ecclesiastical council.  The evidence of Samuel Anetsi (XII century), Kirakos Gandzaketsi (XIII century), Vahram Rabuni (XIII century), Hetum Historian (XIV century), Davit Baghishetsi (XVII)  about the Monastery are very valuable. Akner monastery consisted of three churches: St. Astvadzatzin (Armenian: Սբ. Աստվածածին) meaning Saint Mother of God, St. Hakob (or St. Nshan) (Armenian: Սբ. Հակոբ (or Սբ. Նշան)) meaning Saint Jacab (or Saint Sign), St. Arakelots (Armenian: Սբ. Առաքելոց) meaning Saint Apostles. In relatively short period of time the monastery acquired pan-Armenian fame for calligraphy.

There is also evidence about the relations with the Eastern Armenia. The oldest manuscript dates back to 1215, the latest to 1342. There are many reproductions of works of Mesrop Mashtots, Grigor Narekatsi, Sharakans (collections of Armenian hymns), reproductions of works of Agatangeghos' "History of Armenia". About 30 manuscripts tell about different events and historical personalities. Manuscripts of Petros, David, Barsegh, Ghazar, Vardan, Nerses, Serovbe (son of Nerses) and some other monks stand out by their unique nature.

One of the monks of the Akants Anapat was historian Gregory Aknetsi. Imitating “The Chronicle” by Michael Asori he wrote the work “History of the Nation of Archers” in 1273. 

Akanats Anapat was the center of the XIII century Cilician miniature painting and together with the scriptoria of Grner and Bardzrberd formed a unique miniature school, the characteristic features of which were the correct reproduction of the human body and realistic images, application of specific graphics.

Among the the significant manuscripts reproduced and illustrated in Akants Anapat are the Gospel from 1287, “Gospel of Ishkhan Vasak” , (the prototype of which was "The Gospel of the queen Keran" written in 1272 dedicated to "The monastery called as Akner"). Miniaturists Poghos, Gregor, Karapet, Hovhanness, monks Ruben and Barsegh were among the best illustrators. 

The congregation of  Akants Anapat participated in ecclesiastical affairs of Cilician Armenia. The Armenian Catholicos Grigor Anavarzatsi XII in the letter to the king Hethum II in 1306 A.D. mentions about Akants Anapat congregation as  a religious institution consisting of decent, exemplary, clever people. 

In 1307 Vardan archimandrite and Sargis abbot from Akner Anapat took part in the great ecclesiastical assembly in the capital Sis. King Hethum I after his retirement led a solitary life in Akner monastery (1270-70). The heart of the King Levon II was buried in Akner. After XIV century the name of Akants Anapat is not mentioned any more (probably it was destroyed by Egyptian troops during the siege of Sis in 1375). 


Source-Encyclopedia “Christian Armenia”, chief editor H. Ayvazyan, Publishing House Armenian Encyclopedia, Yerevan, 2002.




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