Journey Through Time:


Translated by Vesna Stevkovska

Restoration of St. Clement’s church at Plaoshnik in Ohrid began with the laying of the foundation stone by the head of the MOC, g.g. Stefan and the Premier, Ljubco Georgievski

            Upon the occasion of the anniversary of 2000 years Christianity, central festivities of the MOC began with a holy service and spiritual meeting, held on 7 December at the Central archiepiscopal church “St. Clement Ohridski” in Skopje. It was held by the head of the MOC, the archiepiscope of Ohrid and Macedonia, g.g. Stefan, in the presence of numerous believers, top Macedonian statesmen, including President Boris Trajkovski, Premier Ljubco Georgievski, Ministers of the Government, representatives, scholars, workers from the fields of culture, and other distinguished guests.

            In his addressing upon the occasion, archiepiscope g.g. Stefan pointed out: “2000 years ago God honoured mankind, who lived in that year, the joy of the birth of Christ, and we are given the honour and dignity to participate in the celebration of this great jubilee now.” The head of the MOC, g.g. Stefan also added: “Today we also celebrate Saint Clement Ohridski -Miracle Worker, who is also a centre in time - in this two-millennium period, and in his significance for us, since he appeared as a ‘new Apostle Paul among the new Corinthians,’ as the author of the Hagiography noted. As a good archipastir of Christ and equal apostle enunciator, he evangelized and educated our people. With Godly wisdom he managed to overcome this people through a special language, literacy, culture, and church, under the management of people’s episcopes, priests, teachers, and everything they needed, providing even university education for them,” g.g. Stefan emphasized.

            On 8 December, celebrating the day of St. Clement Ohridski, protector of Ohrid and patron of the Macedonian orthodox church, a foundation stone was laid for restoration of the monastery church of St. Clement. Laying of the foundation stone of St. Clement’s and St. Panteleimon church are central events in the celebration of the 2000th Anniversary of Christianity in Macedonia. This means that almost five centuries later, St. Clement’s monastery church will be in the same place as the first all-Slavic university was, from where Slavic literacy and culture began to spread. Namely, the sound of every church bell in the sacred Macedonian city of Ohrid - the second Jerusalem, as it is often called by the Christians - marked, with magnificent spiritual, church, and national festivities, the 2000th Anniversary of the birth of Jesus Christ and foundation of Christianity. On the day of its patron, St. Clement Ohridski, also the patron of Ohrid, the MOC began restoration of one of the most significant Christian shrines in Europe dating from the time of the Middle Ages, the St. Panteleimon church, built by St. Clement in 893, in which he established the first university in the Balkans. This comes about five centuries after the destruction of the church.

            The ceremony of laying the foundation stone, attended by several thousand people, Government ministers, representatives, cultural workers, scholars, and other distinguished personalities, began with the formal holy liturgy at the Cathedral church of St. Clement Ohridski, i.e. the church of the “Holy Mother of God Perivlepta”  and the procession then headed towards Plaoshnik. The formal religious liturgy was headed by the archiepiscope of Ohrid and Macedonia g.g. Stefan together with the archpriests of the MOC, with the exception of metropolitan Jovan, and a number of priests.

             In his speech, metropolitan Timotej of the Debar-Kichevo eparchy centred in Ohrid, who is directly involved in this project, pointed out: “Today in this holy place, by beginning this church, national, and historical deed, we confirm that we are God’s people, Macedonian orthodox people, and we believe that we are a chosen and honoured generation for becoming part of the life and work of Saint Clement Ohridski - Miracle Worker.”

             Metropolitan Kiril pointed out that it is time for this church and spiritual holiday to be declared a national holiday of the Macedonian people, which was greeted by the thousands of people present. Describing St. Clement as the greatest antipastir of the Macedonian people, and great teacher, metropolitan Kiril said that “we Macedonians are one body and one soul in the spirit of Saint Clement.”

              Addressing everyone present and the entire Macedonian nation, his blissful, the archiepiscope g.g. Stefan appealed in Ohrid: “It has been long since we have had an opportunity such as this at Plaoshnik today: let us be together, be joyful together, let us build together a structure of unity, let us build a structure of God’s eternal joy, the joy of Saint Clement the golden, and of our entire Macedonian people.” Archiepiscope Stefan continued the blessing and extended his wishes that Plaoshnik will be restored and will continue to be what it was - fortress and strength of the ancient and of joy. He prayed to God and to Saint Clement that his church will be a church of Macedonian renaissance and that it will continue to be “a cure for our souls,” while his grave will be “the source of healing.”

              Premier Ljubco Georgievski, congratulated everyone present as well as the entire Macedonian people on their two-millennium jubilee, especially the day devoted to Saint Clement. At the same time he reminded: “While forming the Government of the Republic of Macedonia two years ago, we set before us many political, economic, cultural, and other goals. I am pleased today that throughout the Republic of Macedonia there is a process of restoration and construction of many churches and monasteries. However, one of the biggest goals I set was precisely the restoration of Saint Clement’s church here at Plaoshnik. Two years passed until this moment, when we can all together share our joy. This goes to show that great deeds need planning. The support given to this church is in that every people which believes in itself has some kind of sacred place, a church which is the centre of its entire history. We,” Georgievski continued to add, “will not build something huge, but instead we will restore the church as it was when it was ruined, to suit the Macedonian Christian believers, which I believe will give us even greater power and prosperity.

            Academic Krum Tomovski, President of the Council for restoration of St. Clement’s church - considering its importance as well as the complexity of the restoration of the church - pointed out that the commission offered the Council the realization of the project design of the Institute for Protection of Cultural Monuments and the Ohrid Museum prepared by a team of experts.

The interior of the church is planned to present Saint Clement’s grave, accessible to believers, table, sacrificial altar, stone screen with icons, and presentation of icons and floors. This will all be in the spirit of the basic idea for authentic restoration of the church.

            The Ohrid City Council, which has celebrated Saint Clement’s day as its patron saint holiday for the last several years, also played a significant role in honouring the restoration of Saint Clement’s church. Upon this occasion, a formal meeting was held at which the Saint Clement Ohridski prize was awarded. Ohrid, as in the past centuries, showed that the deeds of Saint Clement of Ohrid must be followed and respected with dignity always, and everywhere, for the legends say that even today he walks through the narrow streets of Ohrid, with a lantern in his hand, protecting each of his children.