Sunday, 27 September 2020 | News today: 0

St. Clement University – first university in Europe


Prof. Jovanka Kepeska PhD

St. Clement created the first organized Christian church in the Balkans. Becoming bishop of the great eparchy. St. Naum at the same time, in the the monastery that he founded in 905, dealt with spiritual and literary mission and healing people. Apart from spreading Christianity and clergy in 886, St. Clement of Ohrid also created a University. About 3,500 students studied at the University, who then spread literacy and became priests. Most of them, namely, were ordained priests, deacons and protodeacons.

St. Clement, by creating the Cyrillic alphabet and the Macedonian-Slavic literacy, he actually created a good ground for the Ohrid University to become a center that spreads Slavic literature and cultural activity. That’s why, the university, because of the affirmation of literature, is often called literary school. The Slavic literature, which at the beginning was based on the Proto-Slavic language that with St. Cyril was accepted by the Vatican as the fourth world language, during St. Clement time was created in Macedonian language.

Bringing the spiritual and secular content in the concept, this university has features of the Renaissance, which appeared in our region very early, and other indicators, especially in arts.

The processes and missions that took place in Western Europe are identical in respect. Thus, St. Patrick, introducing the apostolate, in 432 also christianized the population of the Celtic island (Ireland). His book “Confessions” earned him a place in world literature.

Legend has it that he eradicated the snakes and all venomous animals on the island. As a result of this established tradition in the sixth and the seventh centuries occurs the flourishing of the Celtic-Christian religious art and civilization which in turn had strong impact on spreading Christianity in Western Europe.

Just as the first created universities in Western Europe brought identical spiritual and secular essence and values.

University has been developed on the basis of the rhetorical and vocational schools. In Bologna it was established in 1119, in Oxford in 1214, in Salamanca in 1218, in Cambridge in 1229, in Coimbra in 1290, while the College of the Sorbonne, as a theological school for poor students, was founded in 1257 by Robert de Sorbonne.

Since the 13th century western universities have four faculties: theology, medicine, law, philosophy. In 1290 people in Coimbra studied law, grammar, logic, philosophy of nature and medicine. Even in Oxford, the school system and programs were first established in the 13th century.

The profile of the university graduates can be seen through the example of the Jewish theologian and philosopher of the 12th century, Moses Maimonides, born in Cordoba, who fled to Cairo, was a theologian and philosopher, but he also learned about law, commerce. While knowing medicine, he became personal physician to sultan Saladin.

The features on which a university is created to achieve “turning darkness into light” through the symbiosis of spiritual and earthly, but even a century or two or three later, and at the beginning of the Renaissance on the soil of Western Europe, speak that the first universities created with the same characteristics.

Namely, according to the Latin root of the word derived from the philosophical views of Plato, Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas, the essence of the university is achieving the sense, the parts in the composition of the whole, to mean something, achieving the unity of beautiful, smart and real. Something that, through Latin translations, through which the values of ancient literature and philosophy are revived, gets into the spiritual realm of the Renaissance era.

St. Clement University, perhaps, because it did not retain and develop its founded status in the Middle Ages, and the western world knows little about it, remains as the first university in Europe.