The roots of the Macedonian cultural history are set into the work of the Thessaloniki brothers Cyril and Methodius (Кирил и Методиј). They gave the first literacy and the first books to the Slavs and by that they put the first foundations of the librarian works in all Slavic countries.
The Ohrid literary centre represented the first Slavic literary center, where the students of Cyril and Methodius, Clement (Климент) and Naum (Наум) started their educational and literary activity. They set the foundations of so called Ohrid literary school. As well as the other schools the Ohrid literary school had its own representatives, leaders. Those were Clement and Naum Ohridski.
In Ohrid literary center that is in the work of Clement and Naum laid the foundations not only of the Macedonian literature, but also of the Macedonian librarian work. Their literary work actually created the first original Slavic literary fund in the middle age monastery and church libraries
APOSTLE WORK OF THE HOLY BROTHERS CYRIL AND METHODIUS
At the beginning of IX century there had been created a solid base for wider and more organized missionary activity among the Macedonian Slavs. At that period, the Byzantium Empire lived its new blossom on cultural and education plan, so that wave splashed also the cities that were further that Czar grad especially, Thessaloniki. In the first decades of IX century in Thessaloniki the family of high clerk of the czar authority assistant of the Byzantium strategist of Thessaloniki and the area of Thessaloniki lived. The name of this clerk was Lav by nationally Greek, whose wife was a Slav, Maria. The family had many children, but only the name of the oldest Methodius and the youngest Konstantin are mentioned. It was not even mentioned the secular name of Methodius who got this name after his admittance in the monk order.
Lav and Maria sent their children since their earliest childhood to the Christian study, trying to help them use the holy Christian truths in their lives. Constantine since his early youth was involved in the lists of Saint Gregory Nazijanzin and Dionysus Areopagistski. His father sent him to Czar grad to continue his education in the Emporia Magnaure school, where beside the religious sciences, they studied grammar, arithmetic, geography, astronomy, music, poetry, rhetoric. Beside these sciences, Constantine studied languages, Latin, Jewish and Syrian. Among, his great and glorious teachers was Fotij the largest polemic and diplomat, who later was elected for a patriarch. After he had .nished his higher education, Constantine was appointed for a librarian at the church “Saint Sophia” and later he was appointed for a teacher of philosophy at the school that he had finished. Then, he received the name Constantine philosopher.
When we talk about Methodius there are many poor sources according to which he got world education and he dedicated himself to the state and military service. He was gifted with Christian benevolent life, state and military capabilities. Later, he managed with the area of Bregalnica and contributed for the baptizing of the Slavs in that part of Macedonia. For this success his brother Konstantin had special contribution.
The missionary activity of the holy brothers among the Macedonian Slavs especially for the creation of the Slavic alphabet was noted in the hagiography of Saint Naum. This preceded to the translation of the holy books into the language of the Macedonian Slavs from the region of Thessaloniki and the missionary work among the western Slavs in Moravia.
Certain time before their missionary activity, the holy brothers were withdrawn in the monastery Polihron on the small Asian mountain Olympus, where actually they were prepared for their epochal missionary work. The monastery loneliness they stopped twice when they were sent by the Byzantium authority and by the Czar grad patriarch to the missions among the Saracens and Hazards. They finished these missions with great success.
Rotislav the prince of Great Moravia sent an appeal to the Byzantium emperor Michel III to sent an episcope and a teacher who would explain in their language, the true Christian religion. The choice fell on the holy brothers. They were almost prepared for this mission as well, because the largest number of the holy books they had already translated into Slavic language. They elected decent students and assistants and went to Moravia. They were greeted with huge joy and great honors. Soon after that they opened a school, where they prepared the future priests and teachers for the Western Slavic people. There they found a great resistance by the German priests who blamed them for heresy. They were forced to go to Rome to prove their true religion. In Rome they were accepted with great honors by the pope Adrian II. He approved the Slavic holy books and ordered to be put them in the altar of the church “Santa Maria Majore” and to be performed services in Slavic language in three Roman states.
Cyril in Rome got seriously ill and died on 14th February 869. Methodius, the epochal missionary work among the Western Slavs, continued alone with the help of his students, who in Rome received the priest rank. The hostility of the German priests did not stop. Tired from his efforts and tortures, St. Methodius died in Nitra in 885. His students suffered severe tortures and persecution. Some of them were sold as slaves.
The work of the holy brothers after the death of St. Methodius was in a huge crisis, but thanks to their most gifted students – St. Clement and St. Naum, the Ohrid saints and miracle workers, teachers and educators, following their missionary method, which wanted to announce the God’s truth for the new people, respecting their cultural identity, remained life pattern for the Holy church and for the missioners of all time.
Although, they were Byzantium by their culture, the holy brothers Cyril and Methodius managed to became Slavic apostles. They wanted to serve for the good of the Slavic people and the unity of the universal church. For these and such bene.ts in their apostle epistle Egregiae Virtutis, the pope John Paul II on 31st December 1980 announced them for patrons of Europe, whose patron is St. Benedict proclaimed by the pope Paul VI on 26th October 1964.
The position of Cyril and Methodius students after the death of their teachers
After the death of the Slavic teacher Methodius in Moravia, there had been severe dispute among the students of the holy brothers Cyril and Methodius and the German priests who were superior. The battle won the German priests when they address the Holiness to judge who was right and who was not. The holiness admitted that he did not know well the Christian science and suggested decision in a weird way, i. e he would give the right to that idea that would act according to the traditional religious court and the religious court represented a weird competition and that was the one who would announce from the both opposed sides that he believed correctly, he would be the winner. In that miraculous trick Clement and Gorazd could not act quickly and their religious seriousness did not allow physical competition. But, there the German and the Latin showed their skills, so the last words by the Holiness were not said, they sworn and they took their dishonored victory. From that moment, the students of Cyril and Methodius as well as their followers lost all the rights for their own organization. They had to obey the German and the Latin priests. Who disobeyed them he would have to be judged. So the best students of Cyril and Methodius, Clement and Gorazd did not want to give up from their Slavic church, they were chained and thrown to jail. They had been tortured as some other Slavic cultural and educational church leaders and some of them were sold as slaves in Venice and the others were brutally expelled.
One part of those who were expelled came to the river Danube, Belgrade where they were sent to the Bulgarian prince Boris in Preslav. Among the students who came to prince Boris were Clement, Naum and Angelarij. Boris accepted them with delightness because he had the necessity of such students, i.e he wanted to impose his influence in the Western parts, i.e in Macedonia.
After they had a good rest, Clement was sent to Macedonia in the area Kutmicevica, which is somewhere between Ohrid, Devol and Glavenica. Naum for a certain period stayed in Preslav and then he came to Macedonia. Angelarij died tired by the long trips and prosecutions.