Church of Saints Clement and Panteleimon

Ohrid, North Macedonia

The original  Church of Saints Clement and Panteleimon 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. 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, was erected by the Ottomans. 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.

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.

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.



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Founded: 9th century AD
Category: Religious sites in North Macedonia

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4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Francis Esposo (5 months ago)
Beautiful church. I think the old ruins surrounding the church is really cool.
Backpack & us (5 months ago)
Beautiful church and probably nice location to see the interior fresques or the archaeological findings, unfortunately outside season, they is many renovations which aren’t mention by the ticket office so personally it wasn’t worth our buck. 100 MKD per adult or 2€ You bet nice views of the church from the castle
Zeynep Collu (10 months ago)
Lovely view. It’s a bit difficult to climb though.
Czemu Czemu czemu (10 months ago)
So so, it’s nice to see it during the walk
Sally Schmidt (13 months ago)
The most peaceful outlook over Lake Ohrid, this beautiful Byzantine (Eastern Orthodox) church is perched up on the hill in Old City Park with magical views. Ohrid is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, so the church is also protected by UNESCO. The church is a replica of the old church of St. Panteleimon, built by St. Clement of Ohrid in 863, demolished by the Ottomans. The construction of the present church was completed in 2002. 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. Only a short 10 minute walk from the old city, up a small hill, easily accessible for everyone to visit. A small fee to enter, 100 denar (€1.60) each, local guides are available for a donation to soak up the knowledge of Ohrid and the history of the attraction. There is also a mosque on the site and a university being built. It is very calming and well maintained, and a perfect place to sit, relax and enjoy the view. You can also enter the church and there is a small gift shop inside to purchase souvenirs. Best add the old ancient theatre and Samuel's Fortress to your walking tour, as they are all 10 minutes from each other, and all have the most wonderful views of Ohrid and full of rich history.
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