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The Liturgical Calendar: The Church Remembers

Today the church remembers Cyril, Monk, and Methodius, Bishop, Missionaries to the Slavs, 869, 885.

These brothers, Cyril and Methodius, were chiefly responsible for the conversion of the Slavic people of Eastern Europe in the ninth century. They were from Thessalonica, Greece. Each was educated at the great university at Constantinople, and each initially took up a career there; Cyril, the younger, as professor of philosophy, and Methodius, the elder, as a librarian. Cyril was the first to do missionary work. He worked among the Tartars of what is now the Ukraine. The brothers went together as missionaries to Moravia. Cyril invented an alphabet for the Slavic tongues of that area. Together they translated the liturgy and the scriptures into Slavonic, the language of the people.

The task of converting these Slavs was not easy and was made even more difficult by the competitive spirit of the various Christian groups nearby. There was pressure from the Roman Church to impose the Latin language on the population and pressure from Germanic Christians to accept the Arian heresy. However, Cyril and Methodius did not allow partisan strife to interfere with their evangelistic work, and they eventually gained the admiration of all parties. Methodius was consecrated Archbishop of Sirmium in 869, with the blessing of both Rome and Orthodoxy. Cyril died in that same year.

Lord Christ, help us to proclaim the Good News in a way that those who hear it may understand, to the glory of your Name. Amen.

Read the Wikipedia article here.

Almighty and everlasting God, by the power of the Holy Spirit you moved your servant Cyril and his brother Methodius to bring the light of the Gospel to a hostile and divided people: Overcome all bitterness and strife among us by the love of Christ, and make us one united family under the banner of the Prince of Peace; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

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