St Clement

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St Clement

Mother of God Frescos

 

Saint Clement

Saint Clement of Ohrid (Old Church Slavonic: Климє́нтъ Охрїдьскъ, Bulgarian and Macedonian: Свети Климент Охридски,  ca. 840 916) was a medieval Bulgarian saint, scholar, writer and enlightener of the Slavs. He was the most prominent disciple of Saints Cyril and Methodius and is often associated with the creation of the Glagolitic and Cyrillic scripts, especially their popularisation among Christianised Slavs. He was the founder of the Ohrid Literary School and is considered as a patron of education and language by most Slavic nations. He is regarded to be the first bishop of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, one of the seven Apostles of the Bulgarian Empire (Bulgaria), the patron saint of the Republic of Macedonia, the city of Ohrid and the Macedonian Orthodox Church.

 

St Clement's grave in Saint Panteleimon church

Evidence about his life is scarce but according to his hagiography by Theophylact of Ohrid, Clement was born in southwestern part of the Bulgarian Empire, in the region then known as Kutmichevitsa.

 

Church Mother of God Peribleptos

 

 

 

Clement participated in the mission of Cyril and Methodius to Great Moravia. After the death of Cyril, Clement accompanied Methodius from Rome to Pannonia and Great Moravia. After the death of Methodius himself in 885, Clement headed the struggle against the German clergy in Great Moravia along with Gorazd. After spending some time in jail, he was expelled from Great Moravia and in 885 or 886 reached the borders of Bulgaria together with Naum of Preslav, Angelarius and possibly Gorazd (according to other sources, Gorazd was already dead by that time). The four of them were afterwards sent to the Bulgarian capital of Pliska where they were commissioned by Boris I of Bulgaria to teach and instruct the future clergy of the state in the Slavonic language.

 

Church Mother of God Peribleptos interior

After the adoption of Christianity in 865, religious ceremonies in Bulgaria were conducted in Greek by clergy sent from the Byzantine Empire. Fearing growing Byzantine influence and weakening of the state, Boris viewed the adoption of the Old Slavonic language as a way to preserve the political independence and stability of Bulgaria. With a view thereto, Boris made arrangements for the establishment of two literary schools (academies) where theology was to be taught in the Slavonic language. The first of the schools was to be founded in the capital, Pliska, and the second in the region of Kutmichevitsa.

 

Church Mother of God Peribleptos interior

Photos of the Frescos

While Naum of Preslav stayed in Pliska working on the foundation of the Pliska Literary School, Clement was commissioned by Boris I to organise the teaching of theology to future clergymen in Old Church Slavonic in Kutmichevitza. For a period of seven years between 886 and 893 Clement taught some 3,500 disciples in the Slavonic language and the Glagolitic alphabet. In 893 he was ordained archbishop of Drembica (Velika), also in Kutmichevica. Upon his death in 916 he was buried in his monastery, Saint Panteleimon, in Ohrid.

 

tower of Saint Panteleimon church

Saint Clement of Ohrid was one of the most prolific and important writers in Old Church Slavonic. He is credited with the Panonic Hagiography of Saint Cyril and Saint Methodius. Clement also translated the Flower Triode containing church songs sung from Easter to Pentecost and is believed to be the author of the Holy Service and the Life of St Clement, the Roman Pope, as well as of the oldest service dedicated to St. Cyril and St. Methodius.

 

Saint Panteleimon

The invention of the Cyrillic alphabet is also usually ascribed to him although the alphabet is most likely to have been developed at the Preslav Literary School at the beginning of the 10th century.

 


The first modern Bulgarian university, Sofia University, was named after Clement upon its foundation in 1888. The Macedonian National and University Library, founded on November 23, 1944, bears the name "St. Clement of Ohrid". The University in Bitola (Republic of Macedonia), established in 1979, is also named after Clement.

 

Saint Panteleimon

In November 2008, the Macedonian Orthodox Church donated part of Saint Clement of Ohrid relics to the Bulgarian Orthodox Church as a sign of good will.

Text from Wikipedia


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