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Clement of Ohrid

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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
Kutmichevitsa, Bulgarian Empire (present-day Republic of Macedonia, Greece and Albania)[1][2]
Died July 27, 916(916-07-27)
Ohrid, Bulgarian Empire[3] (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 script
Patronage Ohrid, Bulgarian Empire at his life
(present-day Republic of Macedonia)[4]

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.[5][6][7][8][9] 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 regarded as a patron of education and language by some Slavic nations. He is regarded to be the first bishop of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church,[10][11] one of the seven Apostles of the Bulgarian Empire (Bulgaria), the patron saint of the Republic of Macedonia, the city of Ohrid[4] and the Macedonian Orthodox Church.[12][13]


Southeastern Europe in the late 9th century.

According to his hagiography by Theophylact of Ohrid, Clement was born in the southwestern part of the Bulgarian Empire, in the region then known as Kutmichevitsa.[14]

Clement participated in the mission of Cyril and Methodius to Great Moravia. After the death of Cyril, Clement accompanied Methodius on his journey 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). Thereafter, the four of them were sent to the Bulgarian capital of Pliska where they were commissioned by Boris I of Bulgaria to 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 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 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.


Tomb of Saint Clement at Saint Panteleimon Church, 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 of Rome, 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 (see Cyrillic script).

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, also bears his name.[15] The University in Bitola (Republic of Macedonia), established in 1979, is named after Clement, as well as the Bulgarian scientific base, St. Kliment Ohridski on Livingston Island in the South Shetland Islands of Antarctica.

In November 2008, the Macedonian Orthodox Church donated part of Clement's relics to the Bulgarian Orthodox Church as a sign of good will.[16]

See also


  1. ^ Russian Church Singing, vol. II, Johann von Gardner, Vladimir Morosan, St Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1980, ISBN 0881410462, p. 11.
  2. ^ Encyclopedia "Bulgaria", vol. 2, BAN edition, Sofia 1981, p. 261
  3. ^ Karl Cordell, Stefan Wolff, Ethnic Conflict: Causes, Consequences, and Responses, (Polity Press, 2009), 64.
  4. ^ a b "Patron Saints Index: Saint Clement of Ohrid". Retrieved 2008-06-12. 
  5. ^ Who are the Macedonians? Hugh Poulton, C. Hurst & Co. Publishers, 2000, ISBN 1850655340, p. 19.
  6. ^ Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, Gerald H. Anderson, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1999, ISBN 0802846807, p. 138.
  7. ^ A Concise History of Bulgaria, R. J. Crampton, Cambridge University Press, 2005, ISBN 0521616379, p. 15.
  8. ^ Byzantium's Balkan Frontier: A Political Study of the Northern Balkans, 900-1204, Paul Stephenson, Cambridge University Press, 2000, ISBN 0521770173, pp. 78-79.
  9. ^ The A to Z of the Orthodox Church, Michael Prokurat, Alexander Golitzin, Michael D. Peterson, Rowman & Littlefield, 2010, ISBN 0810876027, p. 91.
  10. ^ "...the First Bishop of the Bulgarian language" -  
  11. ^ Bakalov, Georgi; Kumanov, Milen (2003). "KUTMICHEVITSA (Kutmichinitsa)". History of Bulgaria electronic edition (in Bulgarian). Sofia: Trud, Sirma.  
  12. ^ Official site of the Macedonian orthodox church
  13. ^ Macedonia Travel info
  14. ^ 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.
  15. ^ The official site of the National and University Library "St. Kliment Ohridski", retrieved on October 9, 2007.
  16. ^

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