Ah, I admire Father Ferapont. There are few who fast as he does. He sees the demons that run loose in the world, and he understands that one must reject the materiality of this world in order to deserve the next one. Did you hear what he said about his fellow monks? He said, “I can do without their bread, I don’t need it at all, I can go to the forest and live on mushrooms and berries, but they can’t do without their bread here, that’s why they’re in bondage to the devil. Nowadays these unclean ones say there’s no need to fast so much. Arrogant and unclean is their reasoning” (168).
Ferapont speaks the truth. If man relies on the material aspects of this world, his spirit will never be free, and he will never earn the rewards of heaven. It is Ferapont who is the holy man in this monastery.