Saint Clement and Saint Naum – History of Ohrid

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As early as the second part of the VIII century the region of Ohrid was an area of affinity for the Bulgarian State. During the reign of the Bulgarian Czar Boris the Macedonian territories were incorporated into several “komitati” (units of local authority). Ohrid was under a “komitat” that covered the regions of Ohrid and Devol. By incorporating the majority of “sclavinias” into the Bulgarian State, their independent development was interrupted.

St. Clement of Ohrid, the City Patron

St. Clement of Ohrid, the City Patron

In the Ohrid region Christianity was inaugurated as the official religion as early as IV century AD. Since the first part of IV century the town of Lychnidos became an episcopal center. When the region of Ohrid fell under the reign of the Bulgarian State, Duke Boris imposed Christianity because he wanted to strengthen his power through the church. Christianization in the region of Ohrid became particularly intense after 846 AD when Boris approved the baptism of his subjects by Greek priests.

After a short stay on the Bulgarian court, in 886 Clement (of Ohrid) was sent to Macedonia on a mission of importance for the state. He was sent to the region called Kutmicevica as a teacher. This region covered southwest Macedonia and southern Albania, with their respective capitals of Ohrid and Devol. Both towns were religious centers with cathedrals. During his teaching activity Clement had numerous students. There were approximately 3,500 “chosen” students. By developing so many Slavic clergyman in a short period Clement succeeded to introduce the Slavic religious service in the reconstructed and newly built churches throughout Ohrid region and Macedonia. This activity of Clement denoted the foundation of the Slavic church in Macedonia. After seven years of teaching, in 893 the new Bulgarian ruler Simeon (893-927) promoted Clement into Bishop of Drembica (or Bishop of Velika) and his teaching post was entrusted to Naum. His teaching activity was mainly centered in Ohrid. This is evident form the existence of the Monastery built on the Lakeshore.

St. Naum of Ohrid (910-1970)

St. Naum of Ohrid 

The teacher and Bishop Clement, together with Naum, were the founders of the so-called Ohrid Glagolitic Literary School. Clement also wrote or translated about 50 works, thus enhancing the bases of the Macedonian and pan-Slavic literature and culture. The pursuits of Clement and Naum in the second half of IX century lead to Ohrid becoming one of the most developed and most famous medieval centers of Slavic culture. The solid bonds of Clement and Naum with this region are evident from the fact that both were buried in the Monasteries built by themselves on the shore of Lake Ohrid. Naum died in 910 and Clement in 916.

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