Bulgaria Honors Clement of Ohrid Who Taught Them Christian Faith
WHEN SOME MEN DIE, it is plain to all that an era has ended. Such was the legacy of Clement of Ohrid. On this day, 27 July 916, the founder of the Pantaleimonth monastery was buried. He had been the primary agent for evangelizing the region now known as the Republic of Macedonia and a link to Cyril and Methodius, apostles to the Slavs. With his friend Nahum, he had extended their mission work into Bulgaria.
Clement is credited with founding Slavic written literature. He was a learned man, who wrote more than fifty books in the tongues of the Balkans. Much of this work consisted of translations of psalms, chants, moral writings, and other church material. Among his original works were hymns and biographies of eastern saints, including Cyril and Methodius.
Ohrid was something of a backwater in the 10th-century Bulgarian empire. Some scholars believe Clement was sent there as punishment for his disagreement with a Bulgarian prince over the modernization of the Slavonic alphabet. Others think Clement requested the assignment because it was close to his birthplace. Whichever is true, all agree he promoted the old Glagolitic script used by the Slavs, and also adapted the Cyrillic alphabet to their use.
In Ohrid, Clement founded a school, which grew into the first Slavonic university. Young men flocked to learn from him and from his co-worker St. Nahum. Tradition says the two trained over three thousand five hundred students, many of whom became churchmen and priests, thus stamping the Balkans with the Christian faith.
Near the end of his life, Clement ceased work from exhaustion. When he died, the Bulgarian church lost one of its most prominent founders. In addition to his other literary work, his legacy included the service of worship long used in the Bulgarian church. He is one of the most revered figures in Bulgarian history.
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