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Abstract

This is a brief narration of the creation of St. Clement's Ohrid Archbishopric-Patriarchate as the Macedonian Orthodox Church-Ohrid Archbishopric from ancient times to recent times. The author first returns to the founding of the first three Macedonian and, generally, European Christian churches in Philippi, Thessalonica, and Berea by the Apostle Paul and his associates around the middle of the first century, AD. Then, he proceeds to the creation of the autocephalous Archbishopric Justiniana Prima (534-545) by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I in Skopje or in its surroundings. The work of the Holy Apostle Paul and Emperor Justinian I was continued by the Slavic brothers, Sts. Cyril and Methodius of Thessalonica and their closest disciples and associates, Sts. Clement and Naum of Ohrid. As a result of their church-educational and social work, when numerous churches and monasteries were built in Macedonia and autochthonous monasticism was founded, Emperor Samuil (967-1014) created the so-called Prespa Metropolitanate or Archbishopric. Its autonomy was confirmed by Pope Gregory V. The emperor elevated the Archbishopric to the level of a patriarchate. When Samuil transferred the capital from Prespa to Ohrid, it was known as the Ohrid Patriarchate. After the collapse of Samuil's state (1018), the Byzantine emperor Basil I lowered the Church to a level of archbishopric. The Ohrid Archbishopric persisted for about eight centuries until 1767, when the Turks abolished it in a non-canonical manner, and transferred its dioceses to the jurisdiction of the Greek Patriarchate of Constantinople. Then began the numerous attempts of the Macedonian people to restore its former St. Clement’s Ohrid Archbishopric as the Macedonian Orthodox Church. This happened in 1958, while the restoration of its autocephaly took place in 1967.

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