The Church of Saint Clement of Ohrid is the largest cathedral of the Macedonian Orthodox Church today.
The construction of the Orthodox Cathedral church, designed by Slavko Brezovski, began in 1972 and was consecrated on 12 August 1990, on the 1150th anniversary of the birth of the church patron, St. Clement of Ohrid. This rotunda type church, with 36m x 36m dimension, composed only of domes and arches, is one of the most interesting architectural examples in recent Macedonian history. The main church is dedicated to St. Clement of Ohrid, and the church below to the Holy Mother. One of the chapels is dedicated to Emperor Constantine and Empress Helena, and the other to St. Mina, the martyr. The icons in the iconostasis were painted by Gjorgji Danevski and Spase Spirovski and the frescoes were painted by academic painter Jovan Petrov and his collaborators.
Under the central dome there is a 3.5 m high archbishopric throne. The two chairs opposite of it are each 2 meters high and according to local catechisms, are intended for the ruler of the world and his empress. The Central dome has an area of 650 m². The frescoes are works of the academic painter Jovan Petrov and his collaborators. Uniquely, in this church Jesus Christ is painted on the surface of 70 square meters, with each eye having a diameter of 1.5 m. A departure from tradition is that the Old Testament prophets are depicted as sitting instead of standing. The second departure from tradition are the large windows. To avoid large amounts of light a crystalline acrylic is placed in front of them, creating wondrous rays of color depending on the angle by which the light falls on it. Lighting of the church is done by five tons hard polileum which is placed under the central dome. On it are arranged about 400 bulbs. The second polileum, which is in the middle, hangs over the altar in the Holy See.
The fountain in front of the church was a gift from the Islamic religious community.References:
The Abbey of Saint-Etienne, also known as Abbaye aux Hommes ('Men"s Abbey'), is a former monastery dedicated to Saint Stephen (Saint Étienne). It is considered, along with the neighbouring Abbaye aux Dames ('Ladies" Abbey'), to be one of the most notable Romanesque buildings in Normandy. Like all the major abbeys in Normandy, it was Benedictine.
Lanfranc, before being an Archbishop of Canterbury, was abbot of Saint-Etienne. Built in Caen stone during the 11th century, the two semi-completed churches stood for many decades in competition. An important feature added to both churches in about 1120 was the ribbed vault, used for the first time in France. The two abbey churches are considered forerunners of the Gothic architecture. The original Romanesque apse was replaced in 1166 by an early Gothic chevet, complete with rosette windows and flying buttresses. Nine towers and spires were added in the 13th century. The interior vaulting shows a similar progression, beginning with early sexpartite vaulting (using circular ribs) in the nave and progressing to quadipartite vaults (using pointed ribs) in the sanctuary.
The two monasteries were finally donated by William the Conqueror and his wife, Matilda of Flanders, as penalty for their marriage against the Pope"s ruling. William was buried here; Matilda was buried in the Abbaye aux Dames. Unfortunately William"s original tombstone of black marble, the same kind as Matilda"s in the Abbaye aux Dames, was destroyed by the Calvinist iconoclasts in the 16th century and his bones scattered.
As a consequence of the Wars of Religion, the high lantern tower in the middle of the church collapsed and was never rebuilt. The Benedictine abbey was suppressed during the French Revolution and the abbey church became a parish church. From 1804 to 1961, the abbey buildings accommodated a prestigious high school, the Lycée Malherbe. During the Normandy Landings in 1944, inhabitants of Caen found refuge in the church; on the rooftop there was a red cross, made with blood on a sheet, to show that it was a hospital (to avoid bombings).