Ferapontov Monastery

Vologodskaya oblast, Russia

The Ferapontov convent is considered one of the purest examples of Russian medieval art, a reason given by UNESCO for its inscription on the World Heritage List.

The monastery was founded by Saint Ferapont in 1398 in the inhospitable Russian North, to the east from the Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery, named after his fellow monk, Saint Kirill of Beloozero. The fame of the monastery started to spread under Kirill's disciple, Saint Martinian, who was to become a father superior of the Troitse-Sergiyeva Lavra in 1447.

Even after Martinian's death, his monastery was protected and favoured by members of Ivan III's family. The most ancient structure, the Cathedral of Nativity of the Virgin (1490), was built in brick by the masters of Rostov. This edifice is the best preserved of three sister cathedrals erected in the 1490s in the Russian North. All the interior walls are covered with invaluable frescoes by the great medieval painter Dionisius. This is the last surviving Russian medieval church with fully painted walls.

During the 1530s, they added a treasury, a refectory, and the unique Annunciation church surmounted by a belfry. At that time the monastery enjoyed special privileges conferred upon it by Ivan the Terrible, and possessed some 60 villages in the vicinity. The tsar himself frequently visited the monastery as a pilgrim.

In the Time of Troubles, the monastery was ravaged by the Poles. During its recovery the last buildings — the tent-like church of Saint Martinian (1641), a two-tented barbican church (1650), and a bell-tower (1680) — were added to the complex. The belfry clocks (1638) are said to be the oldest in Russia.

As the monastery gradually lost its religious importance, it was being turned into a place of exile for distinguished clerics, such as the Patriarch Nikon. It was abolished by Emperor Paul in 1798, reinstituted as a convent in 1904, closed by the Bolsheviks twenty years later, and turned into a museum in 1975. The museum constitutes a part of the Russky Sever (Russian North) National Park since 1991.



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Founded: 1398
Category: Religious sites in Russia


4.8/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Olga Dmitrievs (23 months ago)
I have been to many places, but I have never seen such marvelous icon painting from under the hand of Deonisy! Deonisy Ikonnik - a student of A. Rublev. I wish everyone to get in touch not only with the amazing beauty of the iconography inside, but also with the surrounding landscapes of the monastery, towering on a hill.
Николай Малышев (2 years ago)
Beautiful. I have traveled several times already. This time there were few people. Walked around the territory, sat by the lake. On the way back I stopped at Maura.
Фотоальбомы от Елены (2 years ago)
Before visiting the monastery, they show a short film about how the frescoes were created. The surviving frescoes of the early 16th century are united by a common theme. At the entrance, they give a map on which each fresco is indicated. The caretaker will be happy to share his knowledge with you if you have any questions. Amazing place. It is hard to believe that the frescoes are several centuries old. There is a small temple near the monastery, which houses the relics of Ferapont.
Анастасия Голубева (2 years ago)
A small territory of the monastery, located on the shore of a beautiful lake. Inside, only the frescoes of Dionysius are interesting. It won't take long to see the exhibit. Before viewing the frescoes, there is a demonstration of a 10-minute film. The downside is that in the hall with frescoes they give you a laminated piece of paper with the identification of frescoes, but you really want to hear the story of a living person.
Александр Морозов (2 years ago)
A very significant place. Only here there are frescoes of Dionysius. Better to take a guided tour. All of them tell very interesting stories. Here is the last years of the life of Patriarch Nikon.
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