Ferapontov Belozersky Mother of God-Christmas Monastery

Ferapontov monastery

Ferapontov Monastery in the Vologda Region

The Ferapontov Belozersky Mother of God-Rozhdestvensky Monastery was built in the Vologda region on a hill between two lakes – Borodaevsky and Pasko, which are connected by a small river Paska. At first he was male, after several centuries – female, and then again male.

Today the ensemble of the monastery included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

The Museum of Dionysius Frescoes is included in the State Code of Particularly Valuable Objects of the Cultural Heritage of the Peoples of Russia. This is a unique collection of samples of church painting. They say that the frescoes, despite their centuries-old age, seem to glow. And the light attracts them to Ferapontov Belozersky Theotokos-Rozhdestvensky monastery in the Vologda region every year thousands of people from all over the world. Divine services are held only in small gateway churches – art critics fear for the safety of the unique frescoes.

So that pilgrims and tourists could immerse themselves in the unique atmosphere of the monastery, Vodokhod included an excursion called Antiquities of Belozerie in cruises along the Volga.

Ferapontov monastery
The iconostasis of the Martinian church


At the end of the 14th century, the Monk Ferapont founded a small parish in the patrimony of Prince Andrei Mozhaisk, from which the history of the monastery began. It gradually developed, but the monastery flourished during the reign of Vasily III and his son Ivan the Terrible, who often visited the monastery and did not skimp on donations.

For two centuries, the 17th and 18th, the Ferapontov Belozersky Mother of God-Rozhdestvensky Monastery in the Vologda Region seemed to have been forgotten. By the way, it was here that Patriarch Nikon was imprisoned, who was sent to a monastery in exile for ten years.

Ferapontov Belozersky Mother of God-Christmas Monastery
Recently next to the ancient Ferapontov a new church appeared at the monastery.

In 1798, the monastery was closed and restored only at the beginning of the 20th century. But every cloud has a silver lining: largely thanks to this oblivion, the unique paintings and the complex of Old Believer buildings have been preserved.

What to see on the territory of the monastery

The Cathedral of the Nativity of the Virgin is the main attraction of the complex. It was built around 1490. In 2000, the temple was included in the list of specially protected sites of UNESCO.

The painting of the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Virgin Dionysius began on August 6, 1502 and finished in 34 days. It is believed that the local frescoes and icons were perhaps the last major work of Dionysius. Several years ago, work was carried out here to digitize them.

Ferapontov Belozersky Mother of God-Christmas Monastery
The Church of the Annunciation was built in 1530-34 on the contribution of Tsar Vasily III.

The Church of the Annunciation with a refectory was built in honor of the birth of Ivan the Terrible. Bread was prepared and baked in the refectory. The temple housed a book depository. It was possible to get there only by a hidden staircase, which was located at the altar. Here book-writing workshops worked and monastic money was kept.

Three-tiered bell tower

Three-tiered bell tower – the ancient clockwork has been preserved here. It is dated back to 1635. In 1990, it was repaired and even the ringing was restored.

Pay attention to the man-made island on the Borodaevskoye Lake. The disgraced patriarch with the elders brought large stones on rafts and folded them in the shape of a cross, in the center of which he installed a wooden cross. He later prayed on this island. The cross was withdrawn, as it bore an inscription calling Nikon the patriarch. But later it was re-installed. From the time Patriarch Nikon was in exile, an armchair made by him in 1668, his table. And an armchair from the gate cell have survived.

On the territory of the monastery you can buy various souvenirs – there are several shops with local products. The online store of the monastery also operates.

Photos of the monastery
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