Church of Saint Sophia, Ohrid

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For eponymous churches, see Hagia Sophia (disambiguation).

Church of Saint Sophia
Света Софија
Sveta Sofija
St Sophia (Ohrid).jpg
The exterior of the church (rear courtyard)
AffiliationMacedonian Orthodox Church
CountryNorth Macedonia
StyleByzantine style
Completed9th century AD

The Church of Saint Sophia (Macedonian: Црква Света Софија, Crkva Sveta Sofija) is a church in Ohrid, North Macedonia. The church is one of the most important monuments of North Macedonia, housing architecture and art from the Middle Ages.


"St. Sophia as a Mosque", Ohrid, "Autochrome", Auguste Léon, 1913.

The current church was built on the foundations of a Metropolitan Cathedral demolished in the first decade of the 6th century by the Barbarian invasions. The next church was built during the First Bulgarian Empire, after the official conversion to Christianity. Some sources date the building of the church during the rule of Knyaz Boris I (852 – 889).[1] It was basically rebuilt in the last decade of the 10th century as a patriarchal cathedral in the form of a dome basilica, after the replacement of the capital of Bulgaria in Ohrid, during the reign of Tsar Samuil, when the church was the seat of the Bulgarian Patriarchate.[2]

Later it became a seat of the Archbishopric of Ohrid, and was subsequently converted into a mosque during the rule of the Ottoman Empire.[3] The interior of the church has been preserved with frescoes from the 11th, 12th and 13th century, which represent some of the most significant achievements in Byzantine painting of the time. The main part of the church was built in the 11th century, while external additions were built by Archbishop Gregory II in the 14th century.

In November 2009, the Macedonian Orthodox Church introduced a new Coat of Arms with church of St. Sophia as a charge on the shield.[4]

A detail from the church is depicted on the reverse of the Macedonian 1000 denars banknote, issued in 1996 and 2003.[5]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Boris Cholpanov - "Land of a global crossroads", Sofia, 1993, Bulgarian Academy of Science, page 131 (the original is in Bulgarian)
  2. ^ Асен Чилингиров, Охридската "Света София" и нейната датировка. Херон Прес, София, 2013, ISBN 978-954-580-324-6, стр. 4-5.
  3. ^ Frucht, Richard (2005). Eastern Europe: an introduction to the people, lands, and culture. ABC-CLIO. pp. 928. ISBN 978-1-57607-800-6. page 613
  4. ^ "Македонско хералдичко здружение".
  5. ^ National Bank of the Republic of Macedonia. Macedonian currency. Banknotes in circulation: 1000 Denars[dead link] (1996 issue) & 1000 Denars Archived 2008-03-29 at the Wayback Machine (2003 issue). – Retrieved on 30 March 2009.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°06′43.52″N 20°47′38.81″E / 41.1120889°N 20.7941139°E / 41.1120889; 20.7941139