Clement of Ohrid

Clement of Ohrid
Свети Климент Охридски
Saint Clement of Ohrid

Icon of Saint Clement of Ohrid
One of the Seven Apostles of Bulgaria, Disciple of St. Cyril and St. Methodius
Born c. 840
Died July 27, 916(916-07-27)
Ohrid, Bulgarian Empire (present-day Republic of Macedonia)
Honored in Eastern Orthodox Church
Feast July 27 (Gregorian calendar), August 9 (Julian calendar) and November 25 (Gregorian calendar), December 8 (Julian calendar)
Attributes Glagolitic alphabet, Cyrillic alphabet
Patronage Ohrid, Bulgarian Empire at his life
(present-day Republic of Macedonia)[1]
Monument to Saint Clement and Saint Naum of Ohrid in Skopje

Saint Clement of Ohrid (Old Church Slavonic: Климє́нтъ Охрїдьскъ, Bulgarian: Свети Климент Охридски [sveˈti ˈkliment ˈoxridski]; ca. 840 – 916) was a medieval Bulgarian saint, scholar, writer and enlightener of the Slavs.[2][3][4] He was the most prominent disciple of Saints Cyril and Methodius and is often associated with the creation of the Glagolitic and Cyrillic alphabets, 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,[5][6] one of the seven Apostles of the Bulgarian Empire (Bulgaria), the patron saint of the Republic of Macedonia, the city of Ohrid[1] and the Macedonian Orthodox Church.[7][8]

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.[9]

Tomb of Saint Clement of Ohrid in Saint Panteleimon Church, Republic of Macedonia
St. Kliment Ohridski Stained glass - Rectorate of Sofia University.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 (for more information, see Cyrillic alphabet).

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".[10] The University in Bitola (Republic of Macedonia), established in 1979, is also named after Clement.

The Bulgarian scientific base St. Kliment Ohridski on Livingston Island in the South Shetland Islands, Antarctica is named for Saint Clement of Ohrid.

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.[11]

See also


  1. ^ a b "Patron Saints Index: Saint Clement of Ohrid". Retrieved 2008-06-12. 
  2. ^ "This great father of ours and light of Macedonia was by origin of the European Moesians which the people commonly know as Bulgarians…". - "The Ohrid Legend" or the short biography of St Clement by 13th-century Greek Archbishop of Ohrid Demetrius Chomatianus. Cited in Иванов, Й. (1931) (in Bulgarian). Български старини из Македония. София. p. 316. 
  3. ^ Obolensky, Dimitry (1988). Six Byzantine Portraits. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-821951-2-8. 
    In English: "Macedonia - Historical and cultural problems, I.I. Kaliganov, Slavic Institute RAN (Russian)
  5. ^ "...the First Bishop of the Bulgarian language" - Teophylactus cited in Ramet, Pedro. Religion and Nationalism in Soviet and East European Politics. p. 373. ISBN 0822308916. 
  6. ^ Bakalov, Georgi; Milen Kumanov (2003). "KUTMICHEVITSA (Kutmichinitsa)" (in Bulgarian). History of Bulgaria electronic edition. Sofia: Trud, Sirma. ISBN 9844830679. 
  7. ^ Official cite of the Macedonian orthodox church
  8. ^ Macedonia Travel info
  9. ^ The entry of the Slavs into Christendom: an introduction to the medieval history of the Slavs, A. P. Vlasto, CUP Archive, 1970, ISBN 0-521-07459-2, p. 169.
  10. ^ The official site of the National and University Library "St. Kliment Ohridski", retrieved on October 9, 2007.
  11. ^ Makfax online

External links

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