May 24 - Saints Cyril & Methodius, Equal-to-the-Apostles and Teachers of the Slavs

They worked day and night to create a Slavonic alphabet, and to translate liturgical books into the language of the Slavs.

Saints Cyril and Methodius — Equal-to-the-Apostles and Teachers of the Slavs

Saints Cyril and Methodius were the creators of the Slavic alphabet, Equal to the Apostles, and the first Teachers and Enlighteners of the Slavs.

Cyril and Methodius lived in the ninth century. The two brothers came from a well-known and wealthy family in Thessalonica. Methodius was the oldest, and Constantine, who became Cyril in monasticism, was the youngest. They were both well-educated in different things, but life brought both of them to God's service.

First Methodius went to the monastery on Mt. Olympus, and soon his brother Constantine joined him. They both spent their days in ceaseless prayer, and in reading the works of the Church Fathers.

Soon, by the emperor's decree, the brothers went to the Khazars, to preach the Gospel and turn lost souls to the true faith. On the way, in the city of Korsun, Cyril found a Gospel and Psalter written with Russian letters. He also met a man who spoke Russian, and began to learn the language.

Having succeeded in turning many Jews and Muslims to the Christian faith, the brothers set off for their next endeavor. Teachers who could preach in the Slavs' native language were needed in Moravia, which was being tyrannized by German bishops.

By the decree of Emperor Constantine, Cyril, Methodius, and their students worked day and night to create a Slavonic alphabet, and to translate liturgical books into the language of the Slavs.

After they finished their work, they went to Moravia, where they were met with great honor and began to serve the services in Slavonic. The brothers were hindered in many ways by the German bishops, but the Truth supported Cyril and Methodius, and the German bishops were put to shame. The liturgy began to be served in Slavonic in the Roman churches as well.

To their great sorrow, Cyril departed to the Lord early, having received the Great Schema before his death. Methodius, as the archbishop of Moravia and Pannonia, together with his disciples, continued to distribute the divine services, writings, and books in Slavonic.

In spite of the plots of the German bishops, who had still not reconciled with Methodius, he continued preaching the Gospel to the Slavs. He baptized the Czech and Polish princes, and translated all of the Old Testament, except for Maccabees, into Slavonic. He also translated the Nomocanon (the Rule of the Holy Fathers), and the Paterikon (books of the Holy Fathers).

Even in antiquity, Saints Cyril and Methodius were already numbered among the saints, since their contribution to the development of the Orthodox Church and the Russian people had been truly invaluable.

The twenty-fourth of May is the feast day of Saints Cyril and Methodius, Equal-to-the-Apostles and Teachers of the Slavs.

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