Theophanes the Greek is believed to have been born in the 1330's and to have died sometime between 1405 and 1409. He had been well read in religious literature and art before his arrival in Novgorod around 1378. During his self-contained, quiet, short-lived stay in Novgorod, Theophanes painted famous murals in the church of Transfiguration on the Ilyin Street.
His works are also present in the Church-on-Volotovo-Field and in the Cathedral of St. Theodore Stratilates. After working in Kostroma in 1390, Theophanes moved to Moscow in 1395 as it was entering a new stage of history attempting to lead Russia to unification of divided lands and to the end of the Mongol yoke.
His work reveals the true belief of painters and scholars less crushed by the Roman Catholic Church. He innocently portray's Christ and his disciples as Black Men.