St. Clement of Ohrid in North Macedonia in 2024

St. Clement of Ohrid in North Macedonia in 2024
Sculpture of St.Kliment Ohridski Macedonian, located in the center of Ohrid Image by Bijonse
  How long until St. Clement of Ohrid?
St. Clement of Ohrid
  Dates of St. Clement of Ohrid in North Macedonia
2025 North Macedonia Mon, Dec 8 National Holiday
2024 North Macedonia Sun, Dec 8 National Holiday
2023 North Macedonia Fri, Dec 8 National Holiday
2022 North Macedonia Thu, Dec 8 National Holiday
2021 North Macedonia Wed, Dec 8 National Holiday

Saint Clement of Ohrid was a medieval Bulgarian saint, scholar, writer and enlightener of the Slavs

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When is St. Clement of Ohrid Day?

St. Clement of Ohrid is a non-working day in North Macedonia on December 8th each year. If December 8th falls on a weekend, the following Monday will be a non-working day.

History of St. Clement of Ohrid Day

Though the exact location and the year aren't known, Clement is accepted to be have been born in what is modern-day North Macedonia about 840 AD. The place of his birth is important as even though we will see that he made a massive contribution to the establishment of Christianity in Bulgaria, his birthplace reflects that he is held in slightly higher regard in Macedonia than Bulgaria.

Known as the enlightener of the Slavs, Clement was one of the most prominent disciples of Saints Cyril and Methodius, the two Byzantine missionaries who spread Christianity among the Slavic peoples of Bulgaria, Great Moravia and Pannonia.

Worried by the growing Byzantine influence at the time, the Bulgarian King Boris I decided to promote Old Slavonic as the language of his empire. To do this, he established two Slavonic schools, one of them led by Clement and was located at Ohrid, which taught the Bulgarian version of Old Slavonic.

This school made Ohrid an important cultural centre for the Bulgarian Empire. Indeed between 990 and 1015, it was the capital of the empire.

In 893 AD, He became the first Slav bishop of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church.

Clement was instrumental in ensuring the enlightenment of Cyril and Methodius wasn't lost and he brought a Slavonic influence to the teachings, defining the identity of the Bulgarian and Macedonian Orthodox Churches.

Clement died at a ripe old age for the time in 916 AD.  His disciples buried him in the monastery "St. Panteleimon" in Ohrid, which he had established. He was canonized in the 10th century, joining the pantheon of the Bulgarian saints as one of the seven Apostles of the First Bulgarian Empire.

Underlining his importance in North Macedonia, St. Clement is the patron saint of the country, the city of Ohrid and the Macedonian Orthodox Church.

Though this holiday celebrates a figure from the mists of Macedonian history, it has only been a public holiday since 2007, when this day and the Feast Day of Saints Cyril and Methodius were also added to the calendar. 

To mark the holiday, a St. Clement award is presented in the Macedonian parliament (Sobranie) each year on December 8th to citizens who have made an outstanding lifetime achievement in the fields of art, culture or sports.

Despite his contribution to Bulgarian culture, only North Macedonia celebrates St. Clement of Ohrid Day as a national holiday. Bulgaria makes do with the Day of Bulgarian Enlightenment and Culture and of Slavonic Literacy on May 24th, the Feast day of Saints Cyril and Methodius.

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