For the Macedonian and general Slavic culture and education, it is of huge importance the literary and educational activity of Clement Ohridski in Macedonia. He was one of the direct students of the Thessaloniki brothers Cyril and Methodius and the most faithful follower of their work.
For the life and work of Clement Ohridski mainly we learn from the Spacious Clement’s Hagiography written in Greek by Teofilakt Ohridski (XI-XII) and the Short Hagiography of the Ohrid archbishop Dimitrija Homtjan and that is written in Greek about 300 years after the death of Clement, as well as the Slavic hagiographies of Naum Ohrdiski, written most probably by the students of Clement and Naum Ohridski.
From these hagiographies, we can not concretely find out biographical data. It was thought that he was born around 830-840. It is questionable the place of his birth. From one side it was thought that it was somewhere in Moravia and others think that it was in Bulgaria, Greece, Macedonia.
The most probable and the most supported is the presumption that he was from Macedonia and the birth place was Ohrid. Referring to the question about his relatives, there is an opinion that Clement is Naum’s brother. It was concluded like that because in the Slavic Naum’s hagiography, Clement was named as brother of Naum. That “brother” can also mean by religious line or by the educational work that they both worked in Macedonia. H. Polenakovik believed that Clement was a real brother of Naum. It was thought that Clement participated in the mission that the holy brothers had at the Hazards 859 861. Then together with Naum and some others Cyril and Methodius students he went on the famous Moravia mission. Teofilakt widely wrote in his hagiography for the reception of Cyril and Methodius at the pope in Rome where Clement participated and when he was ordained for a priest.
It is of special interest for us the stay of Clement in Macedonia after his expel from Moravia. After severe persecution of Cyril and Methodius students from Moravia, one group leaded by Clement found shelter at the Bulgarian prince Boris and by directive of Boris at the end of IX century, Clement was sent to his fatherland Macedonia, precisely in Kutmicevica, where he developed his wider teaching, writing and church activity. In Teofilakt’s spacious Clement hagiography it was told in details for Clement as a teacher in Kutmicevica, as well as an episcope in Drembica and Velika. In the science it was not yet precisely confirmed where these places were but, almost all prepositions are directed to Ohrid, that is the triangle between Macedonia, Albania and Greece.
In Macedonia he remained till his death in 916.
The work of Clement can be seen from several aspects and that is as a national teacher, writer and church preacher –spreader of the Christian religion in Macedonia. Discussing the work of Clement, it could be said that he is the founder of the culture and the education in Macedonia.
Teofilakt in his spacious Clement hagiography said that Clement had 3500 students. This number is huge and for current conditions. Surely, such educational action requested great effort, so Clement worked day and night or as Teofilakt said: …“We never saw that he was with no work, but that he studied children in different ways – he showed the forms of the letters to one side and to the others he explained the sense of the written and to third he lead their hands to write. So, Clement working in his own way he made literate about 3500 students which is his own record not only for that time but even for today. Clement worked sometimes two things at the same time and he taught the students on some knowledge and wrote. Clement some of his students he appointed for deacons and priests. After he had made literate and they discovered the secret of science, he distributed them by areas in order to continue the educational work. In that way the Clement’s school that some named it university, became a center of the Slavic culture and education.
Clement not only that he taught his students to write and read, he also taught them to love the book, he taught them in the practical life that is how to transplant trees for the fruits and etc. So, according to Teo.lakt the tireless teacher worked whole seven years and in the eighth year from his work the prince Boris died and on his position came Simeon, who appointed the hardworking teacher for an episcope of Drembica and Velika. As for Kutmicevica, so for Drembica and Velika in the science it was not correctly de. ned where they were. There are opinions that the Velika eparchy was in central Macedonia exactly around Debarca, Kicevo, Polot and the region of the river Treska which upper .ow today is named as Velika. After he had been appointed for an episcope, his teacher’s position in Kutmicevica was taken by Naum in 893
Simeon sent Naum to his brother Clement to help him in his work that is to continue his educational work in Macedonia. So the both cultural educational apostles were crowned with the epithet national teachers and Slavic educators i.e. Macedonian.
The literary activity of St. Climent Ohridski
Saint Clement Ohridski is one of the most fertile middle age writers whose work was not known to the science for a long time. In the fortieth years of the last century one handwriting was discovered from 12th -13th century, when it was actively started to be searched the rich Clement literary work. As a fruit of that long research today can be found 15 works by Clement. The number is larger around 40 of the middle age texts written in Slavic language which were attributed to Clement on basis of the analyses of the stylistic and the content characteristics.
The promoted researcher prof H. Polenakovik in his own study for Clement Ohridski divided the literary work of Clement into two groups: work of Clement signed with his name and work for which it is presumed that are his and were not signed with his name. Then, according to the content he divided them into several groups: Sermons dedicated to Jesus Christ, works where the mother of Jesus Christ is celebrated –Virgin Mary, works dedicated to John the baptizer, work for different prophets and apostles, sermons for celebration of the memory for martyrs, works for the reformation fathers and bodiless and bloodless life and praise and teachings.
From the above qualification it was specially separated the top creation of Clement Ohridski, The Praise of the holy father and Slavic teacher Cyril the philosopher. In this work it was presented the endless love to his teacher Cyril –creator of the Slavic literacy and literature.
Surely, the number of these works that are attributed to Clement who is not completely explored because different researchers constantly widen that number with new discoveries and presumptions.
The reading and the spreading of Clement work
Clement wrote a great number of literary work which represents basic spiritual food for the people. All these works are collected on one place which make one small library. It was imposed the question where and when they were read and spread, taking into consideration the fact that the multiplication of the works in that time was really hard, although there were great number of literary rewriters, still they were not in a position to rewrite in such number of samples and to spread then in all these places. Because of that they were preserved and read in certain places that is in the monasteries.
It was known that Clement before he became an episcope of Velika he built his own monastery in Ohrid that he dedicated to St. Pantelejmon. Beside, this monastery he built another church which later it was transferred into a cathedral, so in the period of Clement Ohrdiski in Ohrid there were three churches out of which two were built by Clement. Surely, in these churches and monasteries Clement together with his close associates, believers and students passed the largest part of his time and here his works were written, read and spread, that is rewritten by his students. Later the number of churches and monasteries increased, so they became main, cultural, educational centers where people came in touch with the book.
At the end of Teofilakt hagiography for Clement, it was shown that Clement provided the church with songs similar to psalms. These songs were made for the largest number of the holy saints and the second part of them by their character were prayers and eloquent with these songs he touched the souls of the believers. These songs were sung in a choir or read by one that sang and the others listened. That way of transferring of the written word was preserved for a long time. It was familiar that Macedonian reading halls in 19th century, due to shortage of books and newspapers one read ( usually the teacher or the authorized for the reading hall) and the others listened.
The reading and the blessing of the Christianity was made in certain places and those were the churches and the monasteries which represented a type of reading halls. They played a crucial role through the centuries for the cultural and educational raising of the Macedonian people. The churches and monasteries in Macedonia were the main centers where they were rewritten and spread not only the works of Clement, but all other religious works which represented main and the only reading for the Macedonian people until the 19th century when the work of the Macedonian reformers and educators appeared.
With the opening of the first churches and monasteries by Clement and Naum in Ohrid as well as with the fulfillment of the same with the original and translated works, appeared the base of the religious monastery libraries in Macedonia