st. climent, Ohrid
The St Clement´s Monastery Church, finished in 2002, is dedicated to Saints Clement and Pantelejmon. Close to the new church are the ruins of the monastery school that Clement built on the ruins of the early 5th-century basilica at Plaosnik. He even had built his own tomb into the church, in which he was buried in 916. Almost 150 graves found at the church show that it was also an hospital. The foundations of the 5th-century basilica have been preserved in front of the new church.
The church and the ruins are part of a trip through Ohrid that can be found on my Ohrid page, see the link below.
Of all the churches in Ohrid, the church of St. Clement is renowned for its amazing frescoes. It was built in 1295 by the Byzantine military commander, Progon Zgur. Some of the more famous frescoes include the three saints of St. Nikola, St. Clement of Ohrid, and St. Konstantin Kavasila, the Biblical pictures like the wedding of Mary and Josef, and the "pieta", the grief of Christ's death.
The church is quite popular and small, and you might find yourself competing with tour groups to get a look at the frescoes. Time your visit right, and you'll have the place to yourself (and the bored looking ticket lady) for a while.
Our first stop on the walking tour was St. Clement, also known as St. Bogorodica Perivlepta, which is located in the old town near the Upper Gate. If you have an interest in frescoes, this will be a must see stop for you, a delightfully eccentric theologian arranged by our guide told us the meaning behind many of the frescoes. The church was renamed St. Clement after the Turks converted the original St. Clement into a mosque and St. Clement's remains were moved here.
I don't know if the guide we had normally gives talks or if that was something special for our group, if religious frescoes interest you, try asking at the entrance to see if someone is available to give a guided tour. The attached website also has quite a bit of information.
I know there are difficulties with my appalling transliteration of Cyrillic to Roman script but I think even I haven't made a mistake this time. If you look at maps and internet resource one of the finest churches in Ohrid is called St. Bogorodica Perivlepta, also St. Clement and Holy Mary. St. Clement is the patron saint of Ohrid and is much revered in the city. I believe the story runs something like this. It was originally St. Bogorodica Perivlepta who is an alias for St. Clement, but dedicated to Holy Mary. If I have misunderstood this, can some kindly VT member please put me right.
Whatever the name it is magnificent with some amazing frescoes being the highlight. We were lucky enough, travelling as a group on the wonderful Euromeet 2011, to have the services of a delightful lady as a guide. I didn't catch her name but she has worked there literally for decades and is apparently a world expert on the frescoes here having lectured abroad and written books on the subject. Her intimate knowledge, pointing out minute details, added so much to the experience.
She treated us to a fascinating tour which included the frescoes mentioned above which were painted over about 30 years in the late 13th and early 14th century by gentlemen called Aichael and Eutychus who are credited with creating a particular style of fresco art known as the Palaeologus Renaissance, which I had never heard of.
We couldn't take photographs inside for very good reasons (they damage the delicate paintings) which is a shame. Have a look at the associated website for an idea of the magnificance of them.
The history of St. Clement's Monastery of St. Pantheleimon (Sveti Pantelejmon) dates back to the late 9th century, when Clement of Ohrid built a church on the spot of an even earlier Christian basilica.
Like many other Christian churches of the region, also St. Clement's Monastery of St. Pantheleimon was converted into a mosque during Ottoman times. It was even heavily damaged.
The current structure of the monastery was sanctified in August 2002. Nowadays the relics of Ohrid's patron Saint Clement are again kept in the monastery.
St. Clement's Monastery of St. Pantheleimon stands on a hill known as Plaosnik. The area is situated between the fishermen settlement Kaneo and Samuel's Fortress.
Sveta Bogorodica Perivlepta – the Holy Mother of God Peribleptos, church dedicated to the Virgin Mary referred to as the Most Glorious and Clairvoyant, stands on the upper part of the Ohrid old town. The inscription on the inner wall of the nartex, above the western entrance states that the church was built as a legacy of the Byzantine military commander Progon Zgur, a relative or son-in-low of the Emperor Andronikos II Palaiologos in 1295, during the reign of Ohrid Archbishop Makarije.
The Holy Mother of God Peribleptos is representative of the Macedonian architectural school from the Palaiologian period. The ground plan of the church is cross-in-square, with the central dome on an octagonal tambour resting on four square pillars. During 1364 and 1365, the Archbishop Grigorius added the chapel dedicated to Saint Gregory the Theologian on the northern side, and he had it fresco painted. In 1365, the second chapel dedicated to Saint Nicholas was added and fresco painted on the southern side. An open porch at the north, west and south was built in the same period, and it was later bricked in. The church was built in the traditional Byzantine system of of brick and stone construction emphasized by stripes of rhomboid placed squares in two colours.
During the Ottoman rule, when Saint Panteleimon at Plaosnik was torn down, the relics of Saint Clement, the patron of Ohrid, were transferred to the Holy Mother of God Peribleptos and since then it has been known as Saint Clement's church. After the conversion of the The Church Cathedral of Santa Sophia into a mosque, in the mid 15th century, the Holy Mother of God Peribleptos became the seat of Ohrid Archbishopric. At that time, a lot of icons, the great Archbishopric Library with parchment handwritings from the 11th and 12th century, church pottery and other objects, as well as the oldest musical notations of Byzantine church chants were kept in the church. A monastery complex formed around the church, as well as an Archbishop's palace, burnt down in a fire in the 19th century.
Architecturally the Holy Mother of God Peribleptos is not impressive either in size or monumentality. Although the church is of harmonious appearance, its exterior fails to foreshadow the marvelous interior.
To be continued in PART II…
The climb from Lake Ohrid's shore in the old city centre to the St Clement Monastery is totally worthwhile because not only do you meander through ancient tiny cobbled streets and see beautiful architecture, you also eventually reach this church. It is very interesting to see how they have incorporated the past with the present in the restoration of this church. The views surrounding the church are great and also during tourist season there are lots of souvenir vendors selling their wares. When we were there, there was a wedding taking place, so it was lovely to witness that the church is used by the people of Ohrid as more than a tourist attraction.
St. Clement of Ohrid (ca. 840–916), was a important medieval scholar and writer. As a disciple of St. Cyril and St. Methodius, St. Clement participated in the mission of St. Cyril and St. Methodius to Great Moravia (Present day Slovakia). St. Clement, the bishop of Velika, the apostle missionary, teacher, translator, poet, becomes the pillar of the Slavonic church of Ohrid.
St.Kliment Ohridski (840–916), was a medieval scholar and writer. He was a disciple of st.Cril and st. Methodi. St.Kliment founded the first university in the Balkans and probably finished creating the Cyrrillic alphabet
In Ohrid there are two monuments dedicated to St.Kliment. The one in my first photo is located in the hill. In the vicinity of the monument of St.Cyril&St.Metodi, the second one is located. Please take a look at the details on my third and forth photo.
That very impressive monastery is located at Plaosnik soutwards from the Samuel fortress and close (up) to Kaneo. This monastery is the oldest Slavic monument of culture. "It had an extremely important role in the education of the Macedonians during the period of strong influence of the Byzantine Empire."
It was recently reconstructed, with loving attention to detail, precisely in the style of a Byzantine church, right down to the red bricks and mortar.
An early Christian sacral building dating from the 5th century was discovered here, built over the remains of an older antique building whose cistern was found in the atrium of the newly built temple. Its floor is covered with mosaics of twenty wave-shaped tassel interspersed with the figures of flowers, birds and animals.
This is the newest church in Ohrid, completed in 2002, but retains traditional architectural styles and is located on the historical site of the old church. This was the site of the old monastary of St Kliment which was turned into a mosque by the Turks and later destroyed. When the new church was consecrated in 2002 the relics of St Kliment were returned to this site from Sv Bogorodica Perivlepta Church where they had rested for over 500 years. Add this colorful history the beautiful views and setting of the church and the area, this is well worth visiting. Also it is next the the 4th century Basilica and is on the path going from St Jovan to Tsar Samoil's Fortress. Entry is 100 denar.
the reason that i've put up this link is that i didn't remember much about this church, and i think that it's worth knowing something abouth it. i don't like to copy/paste someone elses text, so i gave you this link for you to check it out yourselves. same goes for the st. sophia church
I've seen quite a few altar screens in Macedonia and they are usually made entirely of wood -- this is one of the few I have seen with a primary frame of stone.