Saint Clement of Ohrid (Свети Климент Охридски, ) (ca. 840–916), was a medieval Bulgarian scholar and writer, the first Bulgarian archbishop and one of the seven Apostles of Bulgaria.Evidence about his life before his return from Great Moravia to Bulgaria is scarce but according to his hagiography by Theophylact of Bulgaria, Clement was born in southwestern part of the Bulgarian Empire, in the region of Kutmichevitsa (present day Macedonia). Today some historians hold the view that Clement of Ohrid belonged to a family of Bulgarian Slavs.
As a disciple of Saint Cyril and Saint Methodius, Clement participated in the mission of Cyril and Methodius to Great Moravia. After the death of Cyril, Clement accompanied Methodius from Rome to Panonia and Great Moravia. After the death of Methodius himself in 885, Clement headed the struggle against the German clergy in Great Moravia along with Svätý Gorazd. After spending some time in jail, he was expelled from Great Moravia and in 885 or 886 reached the borders of Bulgaria together with Naum of Preslav, Angelarius and possibly Gorazd (according to other sources, Gorazd was already dead by that time). The four of them were afterwards sent to the Bulgarian capital of Pliska where they were commissioned by Boris I of Bulgaria to teach and instruct the future clergy of the state into the Slavonic language.
After the adoption of Christianity in 865, religious ceremonies in Bulgaria were conducted in Greek by clergy sent from the Byzantine Empire. Fearing growing Byzantine influence and weakening of the state, Boris viewed the adoption of the Old Slavonic language as a way to preserve the political independence and stability of Bulgaria. With a view thereto, Boris made arrangements for the establishment of two literary schools (academies) where theology was to be taught in the Slavonic language. The first of the schools was to be founded in the capital, Pliska, and the second in the region of Kutmichevica (present-day western Republic of Macedonia and eastern Albania).
While Naum of Preslav stayed in Pliska working on the foundation of the Pliska Literary School, Clement was commissioned by Boris I to organise the teaching of theology to future clergymen in Old Church Slavonic in Kutmichevitza. For a period of seven years — between 886 and 893 — Clement taught some 3,500 disciples in the Slavonic language and the Glagolitic alphabet. In 893 he was ordained archbishop of Drembica (Velika), also in Kutmichevica. Upon his death in 916 he was buried in his monastery, Saint Panteleimon, in Ohrid.
Saint Clement of Ohrid was one of the most prolific and important writers in Old Bulgarian (the Bulgarian redaction of Old Church Slavonic). He is credited with the Panonic Hagiography of Saint Cyril and Saint Methodius. Clement also translated the Flower Triode containing church songs sung from Easter to Pentecost and is believed to be the author of the Holy Service and the Life of St Clement, the Roman Pope, as well as of the oldest service dedicated to St. Cyril and St. Methodius.
The invention of the Cyrillic alphabet is also usually ascribed to him although the alphabet is most likely to have been developed at the Preslav Literary School at the beginning of the 10th century (for more information, see Cyrillic alphabet).
The first modern Bulgarian university, Sofia University, was named after Clement upon its foundation in 1888. The Macedonian National and University Library, founded on November 23, 1944, bears the name "St. Clement of Ohrid". The University in Bitola (Republic of Macedonia), established in 1979, is also named after Clement.