Followers of Saints Cyril and Methodius, "Saint disciples Pětipočetníci" (five in number)

Saints disciples "Pětipočetníci", especially in Slavonic churches, denotes five most famous disciples and co-workers of Saints Cyril and Methodius – Gorazd, Kliment, Sáva, Naum and Angelár. There were many more Cyrillo-Methodian disciples but history has left for us only the names of these five in written sources.


Saint Gorazd, the only one among them of Moravian origin, did not stay long in the position of Methodius' successor at the Moravian bishop's throne. Before he could leave for Rome to prove his orthodoxy there, he was brought down by a wave of a revolution, like his fellow-workers. About his other fate we know only very little. Modest notes compete with one another. Simply, we can proceed from three basic theses. The first of them says that when the renewal of the independent church took place in Moravia by the end of the ninth century, papal legates (archbishop John and bishops Benedict and Daniel) ordained saint Gorazd a Moravian bishop. In that case, Gorazd would have worked as a bishop in the Moravian church for some period of time after all (the Moravian church had four dioceses). According to the second thesis, Gorazd left for the north to the region of Krakow. That could perhaps be testified to by a trace in one of the medieval calendars from the 14th century, where the name of Gorazd is, together with others, listed. The third, perhaps the most likely thesis, says that after our "Pětipočetníci" were, under strange circumstances (by that a sudden earthquake is meant) released from the prison, he was along with them driven towards the Danube in winter 885/886. They were running away naked, they had to hide. They succeeded to cross the Danube and they reached Belgrade, where they were taken care of by the leader of the fortress of Boritakan (Voritakan). He sent them to Tsar Boris, who welcomed "Pětipočetníci" cordially. It was because like Rostislav in Moravia also Boris wanted to establish an independent church organization in his empire and he knew that he needed local educated clergy to achieve that goal. However, somewhere on their way the brothers probably had split. According to some notes, Gorazd then, for a short time, worked in Ohrid in the present day Macedonia. Thus even before Saint Kliment, to whom we will get later. However, interesting traces can be found in the present day Albania which was at that time part of the Bulgarian empire. According to some sources, Gorazd in the end worked in Glavenica, which is located by some researchers to the territory of the present city of Ballsh. There, in accordance with this third thesis, Gorazd was also buried. Later, it is said that his relics were relocated to Belgrad, today's Berat, by the monks from the local monastery in fear of the Turks. In the cathedral church of the Death of the Most Holy God-Bearer in Berat we can see an icon of saints "Sedmipočetníci" two of whom lie in front of the others on a bank of a river and the inscription on the icon says that these two dwell in the wall of the fortress of Berat. The two are, in accordance with a later tradition, martyred - Saints Gorazd and Angelár. However, in accordance with some notes, Angelár dies soon due to consequences of his sufferings on his journey into exile. Together with Gorazd also Saint Sava works in the territory of Glavenica. We do not have almost any other historical data available about him.

 

Much richer material remained well preserved about the last two disciples, Saint Kliment and Saint Naum. Saint Kliment was of Bulgarian descent, or better to say from Macedonia (the territory of the present day Macedonia  was also part of the Bulgarian empire). That is why, paradoxically, he was happy to be sent to exile there because he was returning home. First, he worked in the centers of the Bulgarian empire called Plisca and Preslav. Bulgarian tsar Boris, who adopted the name of Michal during his baptism (according to his Godfather, Byzantine tsar Michal III) asked him to work as a teacher. Kliment was a very capable man, educated in literature and also talented in arts. During a short period of time he is said to have trained 3,500 disciples whom then, by groups of approximately 300, he sent out to the twelve regions he was in charge of. Kliment continued his literary activities which he began with the Solun brothers in Great Moravia. In accordance with some theories he could be the author of the lives of Saint Constantine - Cyril and Saint Methodius (according to others, the author of Methodius' biography was Saint Gorazd). Boris' successor, his son Simeon, then appointed Kliment a bishop and put him in charge of church administration. In the teaching ministry, Kliment was replaced by Saint Naum. He built a monastery with a church of saint archangels on the banks of the Ochrid lake (in the present day Macedonia), where he was also buried after his death in 910. Kliment settled down in his monastery in Ohrid, and that is why he is also called Ohridean. After the death of his brother Naum, he had been working in church administration for six more years and on 27th July 916 (in accordance with the old Julian calendar) he died. He was buried in his church. Later, his relics were relocated to the church of the Most Holy God-Bearer Perivlepta in Ohrid because of fear of desecration. Later, the Turks made a mosque out of Kliment's church. A few years ago, there was again a church built on the site of the mosque. It was consecrated to Saint Kliment and Saint Pantelejmon and the relics of Saint Kliment were again relocated there.

 

Source: Saints Cyril and Methodius and their Disciples called "Sedmipočetníci" (“seven in number”), lecture – Modrá at Velehrad, 4th July 2012, Prot. Mgr. Kliment Petr Koutný