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Saint Clement of Ohrid ( , ) (ca. 840–916), was a medieval Bulgarian scholar and writer, the first Bulgarian archbishop and one of the seven Apostles of Bulgaria. Evidence about his life before his return from Great Moravia to Bulgaria is scarce but according to his hagiography by Theophylact of Bulgaria, Clement was born in southwestern part of the Bulgarian Empire, in the region of Kutmichevitsa (present day Macedonia). Today some historians hold the view that Clement of Ohrid belonged to a family of Bulgarian Slavs.
As a disciple of Saint Cyril and Saint Methodius, Clement participated in the mission of Cyril and Methodius to Great Moravia. After the death of Cyril, Clement accompanied Methodius from Romemarker to Panonia 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 into 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 (present-day western Republic of Macedoniamarker and eastern Albaniamarker).

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 Panteleimonmarker, in Ohrid.

Saint Clement of Ohrid was one of the most prolific and important writers in Old Bulgarian (the Bulgarian redaction of 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 Preslavmarker Literary School at the beginning of the 10th century (for more information, see Cyrillic alphabet).

The first modern Bulgarian university, Sofia Universitymarker, 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 Bitolamarker (Republic of Macedoniamarker), established in 1979, is also named after Clement.

The Bulgarian scientific base St. Kliment Ohridski on Livingston Islandmarker in the South Shetland Islandsmarker, Antarcticamarker 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.


  1. Ангелов, Димитър. Образуване на българската народност. София, 1971, с. 414. ( Angelov, Dimitar, The Formation of the Bulgarian Nation, Sofia 1971, p. 414.)
  2. The Bogomils: A Study in Balkan Neo-Manichaeism, Dimitri Obolensky, Cambridge University Press,2004,ISBN 0521607639, p.
  5. "This great father of ours and light of Bulgaria 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
  6. "...the First Bishop of the Bulgarian language" - Teophylactus cited in
  7. The official site of the National and University Library "St. Kliment Ohridski", retrieved on October 9, 2007.
  8. Makfax online

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