Saint Clement of Ohrid
Saint Clement
Founder of Macedonian Orthodox faith and holy protector of our nation
 
St.Panteleimon Monastery in Plaoshnik : place of
Macedonian Orthodox genesis
 
Click on image to enlarge
    Saint Clement (Sveti Kliment) was the first Macedonian Bishop and the Founder of Macedonian Orthodox faith and knowledge . He and his spritual brother Saint Naum were followers and pupils of Saints Cyrilus and Methodius, two holy Slav Apostles, creators of Cyrilic alphabet.

Saint Clement was born in IX century (830`s after Christ) in the western part of present Republic of Macedonia. Some legends say that his birth place was in Ohrid area, others say in the source area od Vardar river. In those days, teritory of Republic of Macedonia and Macedonian Slavs who lived there (our ancestors) were under the rule of Bulgarian medieval state. First Bulgarian rouler who was Christian was Tzar Boris (852-889), protector of Saints Clement and Naum. Christianization of Bulgarian and Macedonian Slavs began in 864 and emerged. After Boris`s death, his son Tzar Simeon was coronated in 893, and in the same time, new Tzar ordained Saint Clement as Bishop of Eparchy of Dremvitca and Velika.

 
Saint Clement`s Monastery in Plaoshnik
       
           

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Monastery "St.Panteleimon"

Monastery reconstruction in July 2002
 

 

Saint Clement in 893 was the first Macedonian Slav appointed as Orthodox Bishop He was the founder of orthodox faith and knowledge among Macedonian Slavs. Capital city of his Eparchy and his activities was Ohrid.

Great Eparchy of Dremvitca and Velika was covering the teritory of Ohrid, Devol, Kutmichevica, Glavnica, Kicevo, Prilep, Bitola, Prespa, Meglen, Voden, Kostur, Janica and other smaller towns. That was the teritory of more than half of present Republic of Macedonia, and part of Aegean Macedonia (Northern Greece). This Eparchy was ancestor of Ohrid Archbishopry (Holy Macedonian Orthodox Church). Eparchy of Dremvitca and Velika is now known as Debar-Kicevo Eparchy wich is part of Macedonian Orthodox Church (Ohrid Archbishopric).

In the days of Saint Clement, Macedonian nation wasn`t born yet, neither their state. Ancestors of todays Macedonians were known as Macedonian Slavs and their language was known as Old Slavonic language. First form of organized state for Macedonian Slavs from the teritory of todays Republic of Macedonia was Bulgarian medieval State, until the formation of the first Slavo-Macedonian state under the rule of Tzar Samuel.

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Saint Clement was the founder of the first Slavo-Macedonian Monastery on Plaoshnik area, named by the name of Saint Panteleimon, and it served as the residence of his Eparchy. He build this monastery in the period from 893 until his death in 916.

 

Bell tower

Bell tower

Monastery of Saint Panteleimon served also as the university where Saint Clement with the help of his spiritual brother Saint Naum, teached pupils to be well educated Christians. More than 3,500 teachers, clergy, writers, and other literary figures emerged from this Ohrid Literary School where the Slavonic alphabet was used and the Old Slavonic language was introduced in religious services.

Antient mosaic

 

This first Slavic University on Balkans was established by Saint Clement first in Devol, and after he became a Bishop he moved his University to Ohrid.

Monastery of Saint Panteleimon was build on the ruins of old christian church from the 4-th century. In July 2002, this thesis was proved when an old mosaic from the 4-th century was found few meters from the new rebuild monastery of Saint Panteleimon.

Antient mosaic

Mosaic from the 4-th
Century After Christ
 

Two crosses on the top of the monastery

Saint Clement died in 916, his grave, by his request, was in this monastery. He became Saint and Miracle worker for Macedonians. He created a strong base for development of orthodox faith and scientific knowledge among Macedonian Slavs and a path toward birth of a Macedonian Nation. This base was promoted shortly after his death when after the fall of Bulgarian medieval state Macedonian Slavs lead by Samoel , created the first Slavo-Macedonian state, called Samoel`s Empire and Saint Clement`s Eparchy became Ohrid Archbishopry. Blessing and foundations of Ohrid Archbishopry was given by Roman Pope. Samoel in the time of his rule turned Ohrid Archbishopry into Patriarchate.

 

Two crosses on the top of the monastery  
 

 

Saint Clement`s monastery on Plaoshnik and his tomb served as holy place for Macedonians until the close of 14-th century when teritory of todays Republic of Macedonia fell under Ottoman rule.

Ottomans turned this holy monastery into mosque. In the beginning of 16-th century this monastery became once again a christian temple, but after 100 years, due to its bad condition, monastery`s construction fall down. Ottomans on the basis of the monastery erected new mosque called Sultan Mohamed, but due to a lot of uprisings and Balkan wars, this mosque was also destroed.

Only few rocks from the foundations remained.

After the Second World War, and the creation of a new Socialists Republic of Macedonia , Ohrid Archbishopry was reinstalled , but noone had guts to even think about rebuilding the monastery, the holy place for every Macedonian.

G.G.Stefan

10 Years passed after Republic of Macedonia proclaimed its independence, and yet, ruled by former communists, no-one thought about reconstructing this holy place. When His Holyness , Stephen became Archbishop of Ohrid and Macedonia, the time came. Financially helped by the state`s first non-communist prime minister, Mister Ljubcho Georgievski, Archbishop Stephen blessed and baptized remaining foundations of this holy place and started a reconstruction of Saint Clement`s monastery.A group of World`s famous Macedonian constructors from the village of Pustec took care of each stone that was put into the walls of the rebuilded monastery who look the same as the old one , because it was build on the remaining foundations of the old one.


 

New and old construction

His Holyness G.G.Stefan
Archbishop of Ohrid and Macedonia

 

 
The rebuilded monastery of Saint Panteleimon was baptized and blessed by his Holyness Stephen, Archbishop
of Ohrid and Macedonia, and this monastery once again became a holy site for Macedonians.

Evening before, remains of Saint Clement in a special ceremony were taken from his temporary grave in "Sveta Bogorodica Perivlepta" Church ( few houndred meters downhill) into his original grave into this monastery.


2002 Copyright - Text and photographs by Boban Fidanoski- Skopje,Macedonia
Exception: Thanks to Ministry of Culture for image of Saint Clement and "plaoshnik14.jpg", and to Macedonian Information Agency (MIA) for images of Macedonian Archbishop and Primeminister.

 


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