The Andronikashvili ( _ka. ანდრონიკაშვილები) sometimes known as Endronikashvili (ენდრონიკაშვილები) was a princely family in Georgia which claimed their descent from the Byzantine Comnenid dynasty and played a prominent role in political, military and religious life of Georgia. After the Russian annexation of Georgia (1801), the Andronikashvili were confirmed in the dignity of knyaz Andronikov ( _ru. Андрониковы) in 1826.


The surname Andronikashvili, literally meaning "children [descendants] of Andronikos", is certainly attested in the sixteenth-century documents, but the oral tradition has it that the family descends from Alexios Komnenos, the illegitimate son of the Byzantine Emperor Andronikos I Komnenos (ruled 1183-1185) by his mistress Theodora Komnene, Queen Dowager of Jerusalem. After the deposition and brutal murder of his father, Alexios is said to have taken refuge at the court of his relative George III of Georgia who granted him a large estate in the eastern Georgian province of Kakheti. In spite of the extremely fragmentary nature of the early Andronikashvili pedigree, Professor Cyril Toumanoff (1976) has accepted the Comnenid version as plausible, but the evidence marshaled by Kuršankis (1977) suggests that this might have been only a legend. [Kelsey Jackson Williams (2006), A Genealogy of the Grand Komnenoi of Trebizond. "Foundations - the Journal of the Foundation for Medieval Genealogy" – [ Vol. 2, No. 3] .]

Status and possessions

The Andronikashvili family estates were located in the southeastern portion of Kakheti, one of the three kingdoms that emerged after the demise of a unified Kingdom of Georgia later in the fifteenth century. Their aboriginal appanage was known as "Saandroniko" (საანდრონიკო) or "Saendroniko" (საენდრონიკო) and comprised several villages including Melaani, Chalaubani, and Pkhoveli. In the sixteenth century, the family acquired the office of High Constable (mouravi) of K’iziqi which became hereditary in the main line (sometimes known as Abelashvili, აბელაშვილები). A century later, a branch (also known as Zurabashvili, ზურაბაშვილები) attained to a similar position in Martqopi.

Along with the Cholokashvili and Abashidze families, the Andronikashvili were regarded as grandees of the first class of the Kingdom of Kakheti. They held key political, diplomatic and military posts at the court and were distinguished for their particular loyalty to the royal Bagrationi dynasty with which they had ties of marriage. In the 1780s, they functioned as military governors of Ganja Khanate which was briefly subjugated by King Erekle II to Georgian control. Several representatives of the family served also as bishops of Bodbe, Ninotsminda, Alaverdi and Nekresi.

After the Russian annexation of Georgia (1801), the Andronikashvili were confirmed in the dignity of knyaz in 1826 and mostly served in the Russian army. [ [ Андрониковы, князья] . "Russian Biographic Lexicon". Accessed on July 24, 2007.]

Following the Bolshevik takeover in the 1917 October Revolution, the head of the family, Jesse Andronikashvili (Andronikov), managed to send his family to France, while himself spent several years in Soviet prisons before being shot in 1937. His son, Constantin Andronikof (1916-1997) was a French diplomat, the Dean of St. Sergius Orthodox Theological Institute in Paris, and translator of Sergei Bulgakov's theological writings into French.

Notable members

*Zakaria Andronikashvili (c. 1740-1800), military commander
*Zaal Andronikashvili (died 1803), military commander
*Ivane Andronikashvili (1798-1868), general in the Russian service
*Alexander Andronikashvili (1892-1923), anti-Soviet guerrilla leader
*Elepter Andronikashvili (1910-1989), physicist
*Constantin Andronikof (1916-1997), diplomat in the French service and a major French translator of Russian religious thought.


See also

*List of Georgian princely families

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