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Saturday, January 5, 2008

The Holly Mother of God Perivlepta, Ohrid, Macedonia

In the old part of Ohrid, near the Upper Gate, in 1295 the church of St. Bogorodica Perivlepta (The Holly Mother of God Perivlepta), known as St. Clement, was built. It is one of the oldest churches in Ohrid, and concurrently one of the most beautiful, above all for its frescoes. According to an inscription on the western entrance of the nartex, the Byzantine military commander and deputy Progon Zgur, a relative of the Emperor Andronicus II Palaeologus, built the church. The inscription also states that the church was dedicated to the Holy Mother.
When the Turks converted the church St. Clement into a mosque, his remains were first moved to the small church of St. Clement, and later on to the church St. Bogorodica Perivlepta, after which the people simply renamed the church into St. Clement. In the period after the conversion of the church St. Sofia into a mosque, the church St. Clement became the cathedral church of the Ohrid Archiepiscopate. A large number of religious objects, icons, and books were brought to St. Clement. It is known that within the church there was a large Archiepiscopate library that contained papyrus manuscripts from XI and XII century, and old musical notations of Byzantine church songs. Some of these precious objects are preserved to the present day, however the majority was taken from their original home during the devastation that Ohrid and its citizens were exposed to. Also there was a large monastery estate around the church, and the Archiepiscopate Palace was built in its immediate vicinity. However, it was burnt to ashes in the middle of XIX century. The church St. Clement used to be called "The Great Church" because it was the cathedral church of the Ohrid Archiepiscopate.(more on

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