Today’s post is special, as it covers not one but two saints. Normally it would be the letter “M”s turn, but today it gets to share with “C.” The saints are the brothers Methodius and Cyril:
Saints Cyril and Methodius (Greek: Κύριλλος καὶ Μεθόδιος, Old Church Slavonic: Кѷриллъ и Меѳодїи) were 9th-century Byzantine Greek brothers born in Thessalonica, Greek Macedonia, in the Byzantine Empire. They were the principal Christian missionaries among the Slavic peoples of the Great Moravia and Pannonia, introducing Orthodox Christianity and writing to the hitherto illiterate, pagan Slav migrants into parts of Macedonia and elsewhere in the Balkans. Through their work they influenced the cultural development of all Slavs, for which they received the title “Apostles to the Slavs”. They are credited with devising the Glagolitic alphabet, the first alphabet used to transcribe Old Church Slavonic. After their deaths, their pupils continued their missionary work among other Slavs. Both brothers are venerated in the Orthodox Church as saints with the title of “equal-to-apostles”. In 1880, Pope Leo XIII introduced their feast into the calendar of the Roman Catholic Church. In 1980, Pope John Paul II declared them co-patron saints of Europe, together with Benedict of Nursia.
(Full wiki article here)
Between the two of them these saints accomplished an awful lot:
- They engaged in diplomatic missions in the Middle East
- They evangelized among the Slavs in what we now call Eastern Europe
- They helped develop the precursor to the modern day Cyrillic alphabet
- They helped devise a new liturgy for the church in Slavis lands
- Through their efforts schools of learning were founded
And the list continues. I recommend reading the whole article, it truly is a fascinating story. One of the things that struck me is how much their efforts were shaped by politics, both civil and religious. Division and infighting in the church is far from a recent development.