Cyril and Methodius are two brothers who brought education, language, and, most importantly, culture to the Czech Republic. It is their day to shine today, so tune in and discover the beauty of Slavic culture, thriving for decades like a phoenix.
Who are Cyril and Methodius?
Cyril and Methodius were two brothers born and raised in Thessalonica before they decided to change the world and make it a better place. Some people believe that the brothers were Slavs. Others claim, on the other hand, that they were authentically Greek. Even today, no one knows whose theory was the right one. So, we will stick to the synergy of Slavic and Greek ethnicity-inclusivity in everything!
Even though Cyril and Methodius are brothers, their mission to the world plays a slightly different role. For instance, Cyril’s blue dream was to become a teacher and spread his knowledge to the world. As we can vividly see, he accomplished it with flying colors. He graduated from the University of Magnaura and shortly after became a priest—as we all know.
Unlike Cyril, Methodius had a different path: he was a deacon for the rest of his life. As far as we know, he never regretted choosing this path.
Cyril and Methodius in Great Moravia
Everything great begins in Moravia, as does Cyril and Methodius’ mission to the Slavic cultures, including the Czech Republic. It all started in 862 when the brothers began their fundamental work that would have historical significance a few decades later.
In particular, Prince Rastislav of Great Moravia requested that Emperor Michael III and Patriarch Photius send missionaries to evangelize his Slavic subjects. Cyril could not say no to this, so the adventure with his brother Methodius began.
Mission to the Czech Culture
The mission of priests began with translating the Gospels and liturgical books into the Old Church Slavonic language, promoting the notion and influence of the Byzantine Empire, their homeland.
To introduce the Old Church Slavonic language and its culture, Cyril and Methodius traveled through Great Moravia. Such travels were a great success among the Czech nation. The brothers even ended up having a conflict with the Germans in creating the Slavic Liturgy.
Yet, the conflict with the Germans did not stop Cyril and Methodius—rather the opposite—it was the beginning of something bigger and great. In particular, they devised the Glagolitic alphabet. So what is that?
According to Slavic culture and its colorful history, the Glagolitic alphabet is the first alphabet used for Slavonic manuscripts. Interestingly, it was a perfect match for the specific features of Slavic languages. Its descendant script, the Cyrillic, is widely used in various languages, and the Czech language is a vivid example.
Fun facts: Slavic Civil Code
The Slavic Civil Code is the creation of Cyril and Methodius, truly. They wrote it during their mission to Great Moravia, and since then, it has been widely used there.
The language originated from Old Church Slavonic and is still used in liturgy by several Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches, for example. Cyril and Methodius used the Roman alphabet, closely related to the Latin type. The “Prague Fragments proved this.”
It is still a secret, and numerous scientists and historians struggle to determine exactly what the brothers have translated. Yet, the theory tells us that it was the New Testament and the Psalms, but who knows?
Traditions through the centuries
People are celebrating the holiday of Saint Cyril and Methodius on July 5. Why is that so? The answer to this question is simple, minimalistic, and has a historical influence.
In 1880, the Pope created the feast day of Cyril and Methodius on July 5 to share his gratitude for their educational and language activities, which became a fundamental source of modern languages.
Based on the tradition, thousands of Czech Roman Catholics gather at the Basilica of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and Saint Cyril and Methodius in Velehrad, the south Moravian city where they arrived in 863.