Apostles to the Slavs
Brothers born in Thessalonica (Greece); Cyril studied in Constantinople and was ordained a priest. Older brother, Methodius, remained in Greece as a monk. The 2 brothers were commissioned, by the Emperor, as Christion Missionaries to Moravia. German missionaries, arriving years prior were unsuccessful in converting the people as they Insisted on teaching the natives the Latin vs. their own language. Cyril and Methodius taught the people in their vernacular as well as inventing a written Slavonic alphabet – the ‘Cyrillic’ script. They utilized this method in translating the Scriptures. Cyril and Methodius pioneered a form of enculturation whereby they not only respected the culture but helped promote and elevate it. The brothers are remembered as founders of Slavonic literature. This same Slavonic language still remains the official Liturgical language in many of the Eastern Churches. Pope John Paul II dedicated one of his encyclicals to their home in 1985.
My father was a first generation American, of parents from Czechoslovakia. The Catholic faith was strong and part of everyday living; as well as holding their culture together with their religion through their ethnic Churches and liturgies. I remember the first lives of the Saints I heard of as a little girl were St. Therese of Lisieux and St. Cyril and Methodius. At family gatherings, I remember my father, his siblings and parents conversing in Slovak. Being the first child of 5 I never had an older sibling; so when I entered Carmel and it came time to offer a Saint’s name, prior to receiving the habit, I prayer for inspiration and received the answer. I feel they are teaching me the language of Love; the language of Jesus and I am so grateful for their intercession in my prayer requests.
Saints Cyril and Methodius, pray for us!