In recent years, the World Heritage Centre has been informed about issues relating to modifications in the management system and use of some World Heritage properties in the Russian Federation, and about the intention of the Russian authorities to transfer the management of some of those properties to the religious community.
On 18 January 2010, the World Heritage Centre informed the State Party that the state of conservation of the Ensemble of the Ferrapontov Monastery will be examined by the World Heritage Committee at its 34th session and requested it to submit a detailed report on the state of conservation of this property, including information on any development projects and intentions to change the management system or use of this World Heritage property.
On 23 April 2010, the World Heritage Centre, in its reminder letter to the State Party concerning the state of conservation report on this property, highlighted that appropriate legal measures, specific conservation, restoration and use rules and a joint management system for the World Heritage religious properties should be established and implemented by the Russian authorities in close collaboration with all stakeholders, including the religious authorities in order to prevent any negative impact of such transfers on the authenticity and integrity of the properties.
On 1 June 2010, the State Party informed the World Heritage Centre that the draft of the Federal Law on the transfer of State or Municipal properties of religious origin to religious organizations is currently being developed in the Russian Federation, in close coordination with all authorities concerned, including the Russian Orthodox Church. The State Party reports that the provisions of the World Heritage Convention will be taken into account and confirms its interest to participate in the International Conference, to be held in Ukraine, on the role of religious communities in the management of World Heritage properties.
On 1 June 2010, the State Party also submitted a state of conservation report of the Ensemble of the Ferrapontov Monastery summarizing actions implemented by the Kirillo-Belozerskii Museum-Reserve, Department of cultural heritage and fine arts of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation. This covered:
a) Management and protection:
The State Party’s report very briefly mentions that the property is being managed, as part of the Kirillo-Belozerskii Museum-Reserve, by the Department of cultural heritage and fine arts of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation and Federal Agency Rosohrankultura. The State Party also states that the Gate Churches of the Epiphany have been handed over under lease to the Orthodox Epiphany Parish.
b) State of conservation
There are six major elements in the complex of the Ferrapontov Monastery: the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Virgin (1490), The Church of the Annunciation (1530-31) and refectory, The Treasury Chamber (1530s), The Church of St Martinian (1641), The Gate Churches of the Epiphany and St Ferrapont (1650), and The bell-tower (1680s). The State Party report concentrates on the Cathedral.
The Cathedral of the Nativity of the Virgin (1490)
This is the centre of the monastery.The entire surface of the interior is covered by the 16th century mural paintings of Dionysius. There are also paintings on parts of the exterior.
The State Party reports on extensive work that has been carried out on the fabric of the building since inscription in 2000. The State Party notes that the works were aimed at expanding tourists’ visits.
The works included major interventions such as:
- Restoration of the exterior walls and surface of the drum and coating with ‘protective solution’
- Reconstruction of the altar roof
- Installation of new wooden window and door assemblies
- Conservation of wall painting through decontamination and re-fixing some painted sections
- Coating lower sections of the interior walls
- Installation of ‘warming’ mechanisms to the arches
- Installation of electrically heated tiled floor in place of the wooden floor
- Installation of radio controlled climate control mechanismsl>
Other elements of the Monastery
The State Party also provides summarized information on the state of conservation of the Church of the Annunciation (1530-31) and refectory and works already implemented. The State Party underlines the need to establish a clear zone to regulate the visits of the monastery, as well as to restore the dining-room, in order to regulate temperature-moisture conditions. The State Party reports on satisfactory state of conservation of the Treasury Chamber (1530s). The State Party informs on satisfactory general state of conservation of the bell-tower (1680s) and the Church of St Martinian (1641). The State Party reports that due to the relief and soil movement, the restored in 1998 facades cracks of the Gate Churches of the Epiphany and St Ferrapont (1650) are being reopened. The State Party informs of the reconstruction project of a wooden structure of the northern parts of these Churches.
The State Party underlines that no new construction works have been carried out within the boundary of the property from 2000 to 2009 and that within the buffer zone only one monument Prosfornaya has been reconstructed and the Church of Eliya the Prophet (1755) has been restored.
The State Party provides statistics of the tourist visits from 2000 to 2009 and notes the increase interest of national visitors.
The World Heritage Centre and Advisory Bodies note that the State Party report provides very little information concerning the current management system and only summary information concerning the state of conservation of all components of the property.
The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies note that major restoration projects and some reconstruction projects have been carried since inscription without any information being provided to the World Heritage Centre and Advisory Bodies for review. They underline that it is the State Party’s responsibility to inform the World Heritage Centre of any projects and activities which may impact on the Outstanding Universal Value, integrity and authenticity of a property inscribed on the World Heritage List as indicated by Paragraph 172 of the World Heritage Operational Guidelines.
The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies consider that the overall state of conservation of the property cannot be readily evaluated in appropriate manner on the base of the information provided, nor the impact of the recent major interventions on the authenticity of the property, and suggest that a reactive monitoring mission to the property be considered to review its state of conservation.
In addition, they consider that the establishment of effective coordination between the national and local authorities in charge of the implementation of the World Heritage Convention in the Russian Federation and the religious authorities is a necessary step in order to develop appropriate measures for the long-term conservation of such religious properties.
The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies suggest that the State Party should consider the establishment of a Special Board, including all stakeholders concerned, as well as representatives of the Patriarchate of Moscow and All-Russia, in order to develop appropriate legal measures, specific conservation, restoration, use rules and management system for the World Heritage religious properties in the Russian Federation.