PATRONS

CYRIL AND METHODIUS

St. Cyril (actual Constantine) (ca. 826 - 14 February 869), and the Holy Methodius (actual Michael) (approximately 825 - April 6 885) were brothers who came from Thessaloniki. These Greek missionaries, led the ninth century chrystianization mission in the lands inhabited by Slavs. St. St. Cyril and Methodius

Święty Cyryl i Święty Metody
St. Cyril and Methodius - a painting by Jan Matejko.

Initially, the brothers led the mission among the Khazars in Crimea and Bulgaria. At the request of the Moravian prince Rostislav, Byzantine Emperor Michael sent a preacher Cyril (Cyril is the religious name of Constantine) and Methodius to the mission, because they knew the Slavic language. Rostislav did not want German missionaries to lead the mission as they did not know the language.

Constantine-Cyril studied Mathematics in Constantinople under the direction of Leo and then later taught there. In preparation for his mission among the Slavic people, with his brother's assistance he created a 40-letter alphabet reflecting on the language sounds of the Old Slavonic ChurchHe also initiated (along with his brother and students) the translation of Scripture and liturgical writings in that language.

In 862 Constantine and Methodius left the Byzantine Emprie as missionaries to Moravia. Due to the difficulties posed by the Western Church and Frankish clergy, who also ran missions in Moravia, the two brothers departed to Rome in 868. They obtained the support of the pope and the recognition of the Slavic liturgy for their services. Constantine could not withstand the hardships he suffered during his long journey to Rome. He died there in the year 869 in a monastery, where he assumed the monastic name of Cyril.

After his death Cyril's work was continued by his brother - Methodius, who was Archbishop of Moravia. Again, his mission was met with opposition from the hierarchy (German) because it was afraid of losing it's influence. For this reason, Methodius was accused of heresy and imprisoned by the German clergy. Methodius died in the year 885 probably in Velehrad near present-day Bratislava.

The Holy mission of the two brothers proved to have a significant influence on Slavic culture primarily in the creation of its language and literature.

Cyril and Methodius ran their missions in the Principality of Great Moravia and Kievan Rus.

Relics of the saints are buried in the church of St. Clement of Rome. Cyril and Methodius left behind students (including Kliment of Ohrid or Oslawa), who continued theirwork. They found refuge in Bulgaria. One or more of the students of Cyril and Methodius developed a simplified alphabet named after the precursor Cyrillic.

In 1969 UNESCO held a worldwide celebration on the 1100th anniversary Cyril's death, and Pope John Paul II declared Cyril and Methodius the patron saints of Europe.





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