Church of Saints Clement and Panteleimon

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Saints Clement and Panteleimon
Свети Климент и Пантелејмон
Sveti Kliment i Pantelejmon
2011 Ochryda, Cerkiew św. Pantelejmona (02).jpg
The exterior of the church
AffiliationMacedonian Orthodox Church (Eastern Orthodox Church)
LocationOhrid, North Macedonia
Architect(s)Clement of Ohrid
StyleByzantine style

The Church of Saints Clement and Panteleimon (Macedonian: Црква Свети Климент и Пантелеjмон, romanizedCrkva Sveti Kliment i Pantelejmon; Greek: Άγιοι Κλήμης και Παντελεήμων, romanizedAgioi Klēmēs kai Panteleēmōn) is a Byzantine church situated on Plaošnik in Ohrid, North Macedonia. It is attributed to Saint Clement of Ohrid, a disciple of Saint Cyril and Saint Methodius. Archaeologists have come to believe that the church is located on the site where the first students of the Glagolitic alphabet (used to translate the Bible into Old Church Slavonic) were taught into the First Bulgarian Empire.


The original church is believed to have been built when Saint Clement arrived in Ohrid at the request of Boris I of Bulgaria and restored an old church. Sources say that Saint Clement was not satisfied with the size of the church and therefore built a new one over it and assigned Saint Panteleimon as its patron saint.

Saint Clement used his newly created church as a liturgical building and a place for teaching his disciples in Old Church Slavonic and Glagolitic alphabet.[1][2][3] Clement was buried inside the church after his death in 916; his tomb still exists today.

In the 15th century, Ottoman Turks converted the church into a mosque but during the beginning of the 16th century allowed ruined monasteries and churches to be restored, therefore, so was Saint Clement's church. The church was again ruined during the end of the 16th century or the beginning of the 17th century and another mosque, called Imaret Mosque (Turkish: İmaret Camii), was erected by the Ottomans.[4] The Imaret Mosque was torn down in 2000 with the reason given that it was constructed over the remains of a church in the Plaošnik area and the former mosque was added to the damaged religious buildings list compiled by the Islamic Religious Community of Macedonia.[5]


View by night

Many archaeologists believe that Clement himself designed and constructed the church. Clement, along with Naum of Preslav would use the church as a basis for teaching the Glagolitic and Cyrillic alphabets to Christianised Bulgarian Slavs, thus making it a university.[citation needed]

The church stands on a hill which is now known as Plaošnik overlooking Lake Ohrid. Clement built his church on a restored church and a Roman basilica of five parts (the remains of the basilicas can still be seen outside the church). Judging by the architectural style and design of the church, researchers say that Saint Clement intended for his building to be a literary school for disciples, thus it is believed to be the first and oldest discontinued university in Europe.

The exterior of the church contains a large number of finely detailed mosaics not far from a stone baptismal font used to baptise his disciples.

Reconstruction and excavation[edit]

Apart from the church's many reconstructions during the Ottoman Empire, it has recently undergone extensive reconstruction and excavation. Reconstruction started on December 8, 2000 and the physical church was fully reconstructed by August 10, 2002. Most of Saint Clement's relics were returned to the church.[6] A partially ruined bell tower was restored on the right side of the church and the floors of the interior of the church have been reconstructed with marble. Reconstruction was carried out by hand using materials used to build the original church. Machines were only used to polish the interior during the reconstruction of the church.[7] The first excavations of the church were carried out in 1943 by Prof. Dimche Koco. Excavations inside the church have revealed tunnels and crypts. Further excavations have been planned to uncover more remains under the church, including more ruins of the Roman basilicas that stood there (the pillars outside the church support the idea of more remains).

On October 10, 2007, a collection of approximately 2,383 Venetian coins was discovered by archaeologists while excavating the church. A prominent archaeologist of North Macedonia, Pasko Kuzman, stated that the coins are of special significance because they indicate that Ohrid and Venice were commercially linked.[8]


As the church is one of the most sacred in North Macedonia, thousands of Macedonian Orthodox Christians gather at Plaošnik during large religious holidays such as Easter and Christmas to celebrate and take part in the liturgies.



  1. ^ Dvornik, Francis (1956). The Slavs: Their Early History and Civilization. Boston: American Academy of Arts and Sciences. p. 179. The Psalter and the Book of Prophets were adapted or "modernized" with special regard to their use in Bulgarian churches and it was in this school that the Glagolitic script was replaced by the so-called Cyrillic writing, which was more akin to the Greek uncial, simplified matters considerably and is still used by the Orthodox Slavs.
  2. ^ Curta, Florin (2006). Southeastern Europe in the Middle Ages, 500–1250. Cambridge Medieval Textbooks. Cambridge University Press. pp. 221–222. ISBN 978-0-521-81539-0.
  3. ^ Hussey, J. M.; Louth, Andrew (2010). "The Orthodox Church in the Byzantine Empire". Oxford History of the Christian Church. Oxford University Press. p. 100. ISBN 978-0-19-161488-0.
  4. ^ "St. Clement's church "St. Pantheleimon"". Archived from the original on 2011-11-06. Retrieved 2017-01-29.
  5. ^ Sherafedin Kaso (2005). The settlements with Muslim population in Macedonia. Logos-A. p. 234. ISBN 978-9989-58-155-7.
  6. ^ Father Samuel. "Journey to Macedonia, Part II: St. Clement of Ohrid". Archived from the original on 2012-06-30. Retrieved 2017-01-29.
  7. ^ "On Plaosnik – a New Building on Ancient Foundations – Saint Clement's Temple Resurrects in the New Age". Nova Makedonija. 2002-04-05. Archived from the original on 2012-06-30. Retrieved 2017-01-29.
  8. ^ "Archaeology – Depot with Venetian Silver Coins Excavated". Večer. 2007-10-10. Archived from the original on 2012-06-30. Retrieved 2017-01-29.

Coordinates: 41°06′45″N 20°47′27″E / 41.1125°N 20.7909°E / 41.1125; 20.7909