The Holy Equal-to-the-Apostles:  Clement – Bishop of Okhrid, Naum, Savva, Gorazd and Angelyar

Commemorated on July 27

      The Holy Equal-to-the-Apostles:  Clement – Bishop of Okhrid, Naum, Savva, Gorazd and Angelyar were Slavs, disciples of Saints Cyril and Methodius (Comm. 11 May). They at first pursued asceticism in the fields of enlightenment in Moravia, where in succession to Sainted Methodius, Saint Gorazd then became bishop. He was a man fluent in the Slavonic, Greek and Latin languages. Saints Clement, Naum, Angelyar and Savva were presbyters.
      The Slavic-Enlighteners were opposed by a strong Latin-German group of missionaries, resting upon the support of the then pope and the patronage of the Moravian prince Svyatopolk. The struggle centered around the questions of the need of Divine-services in the Slavonic language, the Filioque and Saturday fasting. Pope Stephen VI prohibited Divine-services in the Slavonic language.
      The proponents of the three-tongued heresy, having consigned to oblivion the ancestral language of the Slavic peoples, with the help of the princely powers brought to trial the disciples of Saint Methodius, among whose number was Saint Clement. They subjected them to fierce torture: dragging them bent over through thorn bushes, and holding them in prison for a long time – just as they had earlier done with their spiritual father, Saint Methodius. Afterwards with some of the prisoners (in the year 886) – they sold the young to slave-traders, who found themselves on the Venice marketplace. The ambassador of the Byzantine emperor to Venice, Basil the Macedonian, ransomed the Slavic-Enlighteners and transported them to Constantinople. Others of the Slavic confessors, those of elderly age, they subjected to banishment. It is not known, where Saint Gorazd set off to, nor where Saint Savva found shelter. Naum and Angelyar went to Bulgaria.

The Holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Clement

      In the year 907 Moravia collapsed under the blows of the Magyars, and Moravian refugees slipped through along those same paths, along which earlier went the holy enlighteners exiled by them.
      The Bulgarians received the Slavonic confessors with respect and requested them to conduct Divine-services in the Slavonic language. The Bulgarian prince Boris "with great fervour sought out" suchlike people as the disciples of Saint Methodius, seeking with great zealousness for the enlightenment of his nation. The enlighteners immediately set about to the study of Slavonic books, gathered by Bulgarian notables.
      Saint Angelyar soon died, and Saint Clement received the appointment to teach at Kutmichivitsa – a region in southwest Macedonia. In the Eastern Church for the rank of teacher was chosen a man of worth, known for his pious life and possessed with a gift of words. Saint Clement while still in Moravia was in the "rank of those in the standing of teacher". In Bulgaria Saint Clement fulfilled the office of instructor until the year 893. He organised in the primary form a school at the princely court, which attained high esteem during the reign of Simeon, and in southwest Macedonia he created schools separately for grown-ups and for children. Saint Clement instructed the children in reading and in writing. The total number of his students was enormous: merely those chosen and accepted towards the clergy amounted to 3500 men. In the year 893 Saint Clement was elevated to the dignity of Bishop of Dremvitsa or Velitsa, and Saint Naum took his place.

The Holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Naum

      Sainted Clement was the first Bulgarian hierarch to serve, preach and write in the Slavonic language. To this end he systematically prepared clergy from among the Slavic people. The sainted bishop laboured for the glory of God into his extreme old age. Having become thus weakened, that he was already not able to attend to the cathedral tasks, , he turned with a request to tsar Simeon with a request for retirement. The tsar urged the saint not to forsake the cathedral, and Saint Clement decided to continue his bishop service. After this he set off for the duration to Okhrid, to a monastery founded by him. There the saint continued with his translation activity and translated important parts of the Bright Triodion. Soon the saint became seriously ill and expired to the Lord in the year 916. The body of the saint was placed in a coffin, made by his own hands, and buried in the Okhrida Panteleimon monastery.
      Sainted Clement is considered the first Slavonic author: he not only continued with the translation work, begun by Saints Cyril and Methodius, but also left behind works of his own composition – the first samples of Slavonic spiritual literature.
      Many of the lessons and sermons of Equal-to-the-Apostles Clement were transferred to Russia, where they were read and copied out with love by pious Russian Christians.
      The relics of Saints Gorazd and Angelyar rest near Berat in Albania, the remains of Saint Naum – in a monastery with his name, near Lake Okhrida.

© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.