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.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).