Commemorated on July 27
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.