The ensemble of the Orthodox Ferapontov Belozersky Monastery is located in Belozerie that is a stunningly beautiful place. The monastery is included into the UNESCO World Heritage list.
Being founded by Venerable Kirill Belozersky and Ferapont Belozersky, the Ferapontov Monastery is famous for surviving Dionisy’s frescoes that cover hundreds of square meters of its walls.
It is believed that Venerable Ferapont was born in 1335 (according to E. Strelnikova). Ferapont chose the spiritual way and became a monk.
The Russian monasteries of that time had rather interesting organization. Monks shouldn’t leave the monastery territory. Ferapont was a head of the Simonovsky Monastery in Moscow and had the right to go beyond the walls of his monastery. Moreover, he was often sent on errands to remote areas and had to go on foot.
Once a 60-year-old Ferapont found himself in an especially picturesque place of Russian North, which is Belozerie. He was so deeply impressed by the beauty of its nature that decided to found his shelter and end his days there. However, the life turned out the other way. Several years later an appanage prince invited Ferapont to Moscow to found a monastery in Mozhaysk, not far from Moscow. As a result, Ferapont, called “Belozersky”, died at the advanced age in the Mozhaysk Luzhetsk Monastery, which he founded.
The Ferapontov Monastery / Grigory Gusev (CC BY-ND 2.0)
Icon painter Dionisy
As the Russian state was being centralized around Moscow during the 15th and 16th centuries, Russia gained more political power.
This period was marked by a significant event, which is the liberation of Russia from the Mongol Tatar Yoke.
This victory caused major uplift in Russia. It was the first time in many centuries when the Russians could heave the sigh of relief. During that time architecture, painting and other types of culture were on the rise.
On the bandwagon of this movement the Russian icon painter Dionisy who is often regarded as Andrey Rublev’s successor gained enormous popularity.
Dionisy created many well-known icons, including “St. Metropolitan Peter with scenes from his life”, “St. Metropolitan Alexius with scenes from his life” and “The Holy Virgin Hodegetria”.
Dionisy painted his frescoes in the cathedrals of Moscow (the Cathedral of the Dormition in the Moscow Kremlin, the Ascension Cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin and others) and Russian North (Belozerie and Vologodchina). However, the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Ferapontov Belozersky Monastery is the only church with the best-preserved Dionisy’s frescoes which were painted more than 500 years ago.
Things to see on the monastery territory
There are also the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (1490), the Cathedral of the Annunciation (1531), the Treasury chamber (1530), the Church of St. Martinian (1641) and the Gate Churches of the Epiphany and St. Ferapont (1650) on the territory of the Ferapontov Monastery.
The Ferapontov Monastery / Grigory Gusev (CC BY-SA 2.0)
For a long time the Ferapontov Monastery had been serving as a place of exile for churchmen who tried to set up hierocracy.