Icon of Saint Naum
|Wonderworker, Apostle of the Slavs|
|Died||December 23, 910
Ohrid, Bulgarian Empire, (present-day Republic of Macedonia)
|Honored in||Eastern Orthodox Church|
|Major shrine||Monastery of Saint Naum in Ohrid (Sveti Naum)|
|Feast||5 January and 3 July (Julian calendar), 20 May and 23 December (Revised Julian calendar)|
|Patronage||People with mental disorders and/or other illnesses |
Saint Naum (Bulgarian: Свети Наум, Sveti Naum), also known as Naum of Ohrid or Naum of Preslav (c. 830 – December 23, 910) was a medieval Bulgarian scholar and missionary among the Slavs. He is venerated as a saint in the Orthodox Church.
Information about his early life is scarce. According to the hagiography of Saint Cyril and Methodius by Clement of Ohrid, Naum took part in the historic mission to Great Moravia together with Cyril, Methodius, Clement, Angelarius, Gorazd and other Slavic missionaries in 863. In 867 or 868 he became a priest in Rome. For the next 22 years, he worked with Cyril and Methodius and other missionaries in translating the Bible into Old Church Slavonic and promoted it in Great Moravia and Pannonia. For the purpose of the mission to Moravia, the missionaries devised the Glagolitic alphabet, the first alphabet to match the specific features of the Slavic language. Its descendant script, Cyrillic, is still used by many languages today. The missionaries also wrote the first Slavic Civil Code, which was used in Great Moravia.
However, the missionary work ran into opposition from German clerics who opposed their efforts to create a Slavic liturgy. By 885, the two main patrons for the missionaries, Rastislav of Moravia of Great Moravia and Prince Koceľ of Pannonia, as well as Cyril and Methodius had died, and the pressure from the German church became increasingly more hostile. After a brief period of imprisonment due to the ongoing conflict with the German clerics, Naum, together with some of the missionaries headed to Bulgaria, then ruled by Tsar Boris. Boris converted to Christianity in 864 and was named Michael after his godfather, Emperor Michael III. Naum moved to the capital Pliska together with Clement, Angelarius and possibly Gorazd (according to other sources, Gorazd was already dead by that time).
Naum was one of the founders of the Pliska Literary School (later Preslav Literary School) where he worked between 886 and 893. The most reliable first-hand account of the activities at the time in Pliska is "An Account of Letters" (O pismenech), a treatise on Slavic literacy written in Old Church Slavonic, thought to be composed shortly after 893. The piece calls for the creation of a common Slavic alphabet.
After Clement was ordained bishop of Drembica and Velika in 893, Naum continued Clement's work at Ohrid, another important centre of Slavic learning. In 905 Naum founded a monastery on the shores of Lake Ohrid, which later received his name.
Житие на Свети Наум; Жития на светиите. Синодално издателство, София, 1991 година, под редакцията на Партений, епископ Левкийски и архимандрит д-р Атанасий (Бончев). In English: Life of St. Naum, Vitaes of the Saints. St. Synod Publishing, Sofia, 1991, edited by Parthenios, Bishop Levkiyski and Archimndrite Dr. Athanasios (Bonchev).
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