Saints Cyril And Methodius

Saints Cyril and Methodius were two Byzantine brothers who were born during the 9th century in Thessalonica. They are credited with transcribing Old Slavonic, creating the Glagolitic alphabet, and spreading Christianity among the Slavic peoples of Bulgaria, Pannonia, and Great Moravia. The alphabet they devised is seen as Cyrillic’s precursor alphabet-an alphabet that’s still used in most Slavic countries. Due to the work spreading Christianity among the Slavic peoples, they are often nicknamed “The Apostles To The Slavs.”

These two brothers are commemorated by different Saints Cyril and Methodius Day celebrations around the globe. In Bulgaria, North Macedonia, and Russia, this holiday is observed on May 24th. In Slovakia and the Czech Republic, this holiday is observed on July 5th. It should be mentioned that these saint’s days are observed by the Eastern Orthodox Church on May 11th, and by the Anglican Communion and the Roman Catholic Church on February 14th. Western Christianity Lutheran Churches observe these brother’s saint days on either February 14th or May 11th.

A Brief Summary of Saints Cyril And Methodius’ Life

The two brothers were born in Thessalonica-Cyril around 827-828 and Methodius around 815-820 AD. Cyril was born with the name Constantine and Methodius was born Michael. They both changed their names after becoming monks-Cyril in Rome and Methodius at the monastery of Mysian Olympus in northwest Turkey.

In 862, the two brothers started the work which they are currently credited for doing. It was this year that Prince Rastislav of Great Moravia requested that missionaries be sent by Emperor Michael II and Patriarch Photius to evangelize to the Slavic people. It’s unclear why the prince requested missionaries be sent, but it’s believed to have more of a political significance than a religious one. Rastislave’s people had already rejected paganism and have embraced Christianity, so the move was more likely the result of the prince trying to divorce his regime from the Franks. The Emperor chose Cyril and Methodius to accomplish the task.

After training assistants, Cyril and Methodius started translating the Gospels and other liturgical works into Old Church Slavonic. They then traveled to Great Moravia to promote it. Although they were at odds with German ecclesiastics who opposed the creation of a Slavic liturgy, they still enjoyed a measurable amount of success.

Their work was considered a great success as the Slavs took to liturgies performed in their native language better than they did in ones done in Greek or Latin. They become not only the fathers of Slavonic literary culture and were revered by both Eastern Orthodox churches and the Roman Catholic churches.

The Observation Of Saints Cyril And Methodius’ Day

On July 5th, some Czech Roman Catholics gather at the Moravian town of Velehrad-the spot where Cyril and Methodius arrived in the Moravian Empire. In the Czech Republic, this holiday is known as Saints Cyril and Methodius Day or the Day Of Holy Brothers. It is a holiday that’s celebrated not only for its religious significance but also for its historical significance and as such is an important holiday in many countries.

Where is it celebrated?
Czech Republic (National holiday)North Macedonia (National holiday)
When is it?
This year (2023)
Next year (2024)
Last year (2022)