Cyril and Methodius

(redirected from Saints Cyril and Methodius)
Also found in: Wikipedia.

Cyril and Methodius

 

Slavic educators, inventors of the Slavic alphabet, Christian preachers, the first translators of religious texts from Greek into Slavic. Cyril (c. 827-Feb. 14, 869), known as Constantine until he took the monastic habit in early 869, and his older brother, Methodius (c. 815-Apr. 6, 885), were born in the city of Thessaloniki (Solun) and were sons of a military commander.

Cyril was educated at the court of the Byzantine emperor Michael III in Constantinople, where one of his teachers was Photius. He was well versed in Slavic, Greek, Latin, Hebrew, and Arabic. Declining the administrative career offered to him by the emperor, Cyril became the librarian of the patriarch and, later, a teacher of philosophy (for which he was nicknamed the Philosopher). During the 840’s he was successful in disputes with the Iconoclasts; during the 850’s, Cyril traveled in Syria, where he was victorious in theological disputations with the Muslims. Around 860 he was sent on a diplomatic mission to the Khazars.

Methodius began his career in military service early and for ten years was the administrator of a region inhabited by Slavs. Later, however, he withdrew to a monastery. Declining the rank of archbishop in the 860’s, he became abbot of the monastery of Polychronion on the Asiatic shore of the Sea of Marmara.

In 863, Cyril and Methodius were sent by the Byzantine emperor to Moravia to preach Christianity in the Slavic language and to help the Moravian prince Rostislav in his struggle with the German feudal lords. Before their departure, Cyril devised a Slavic alphabet and, with the help of Methodius, translated several liturgical works, including passages from the Gospels, Epistles, and Psalms, from Greek into Slavic. There is still no unanimity among scholars as to which alphabet he devised—the Glagolitic or what is called the Cyrillic—though most are of the opinion that it was the Glagolitic.

The preaching of the brothers in a Slavic language, understood by the local Moravian population, laid the basis for a national church, but it also aroused the ire of the German Catholic clergy. As a result, Cyril and Methodius were accused of heresy. In 866 or 867, at the summons of Pope Nicholas I, they traveled to Rome, stopping on the way in the Blaten Principality (Pannonia), where they also introduced the Slavic alphabet and liturgy. In Rome, Pope Adrian II, by a special decree, permitted them to continue their work. About this time, however, Cyril became seriously ill and died.

Methodius was made archbishop of Moravia and Pannonia, and in 870 he returned to Pannonia from Rome. The German clergy, however, anxious for revenge, managed by intrigue to have him imprisoned. After his release, Methodius continued his work in Moravia. From 882 to 884 he was in Byzantium. In mid-884 he returned to Moravia, where he undertook a translation of the Bible into the Slavic language.

The activity of Cyril and Methodius laid the basis for Slavic writing and literature. Their work was continued among the South Slavic nations by their pupils, who were driven from Moravia in 886.

REFERENCES

Lavrov, P. A. Materialy po istorii vozniknoveniia drevneishei slavianskoi pis’mennosti. Leningrad, 1930.
II’inskii, G. A. Opyt sistematicheskoi kirillo-mefod’evskoi bibliograβi. Sofia, 1934.
Popruzhenko, M. G., and S. Romanski. Kirilo-matodievska bibliografiia za 1934–1940 gody. Sofia, 1942.
Gratsianskii, N. “Deiatel’nost’ Konstantina i Mefodiia v Velikomoravskom kniazhestve.” Voprosy istorii, 1945, no. 1.
Chernykh, P. la. “K istorii voprosa o ’russkikh pis’menakh’ v zhitii Konstantina Filosofa.” Uch. zap. Iaroslavskogo gos. un-ta. 1947, issue 9 (19).
Teodorov-Balan, A. Kiril i Metodi, vols. 1–2. Sofia, 1920–34.
Georgiev, E. Kiril i Metodii, osnovopolozhnitsi na slavianskite literaturi. Sofia, 1956.
Georgiev, E. Kiril i Metodii: Istinata za suzdatelite na bulgarskata i slavianska pismenost. Sofia, 1969.
Kuev, K. M. “Kum vuprosa za nachaloto na slavianskata pismenost.” Godishnik na Sofiiski universitet, 1960, vol. 54, no. 1.
Kuev, K. M. “Otnovo za godinata, kogato e bila sustavena slavianskata azbuka.” Istoricheski pregled. Sofia, 1960, book 3.
Konstantin-Kiril filosof: Iubileen sbornik po sluchai 1100-godishninata ot smurtta mu. Sofia, 1969.

S. A. NIKITICH

References in periodicals archive ?
Our relations date as far back as the year 863, thanks to the Equal-to-the-Apostles Saints Cyril and Methodius, and their disciples Clement and Nahum.
By their coming to Rome and submitting to the power of the pope as the official Byzantine imperial emissaries, Saints Cyril and Methodius practically and effectively acknowledged the papal theological supremacy for all times, also validating the power of popes over kings, emperors, and bishops more effectively than the fraudulent Donation of Constantine, or the forgeries of the Frank monks known as the "Isidore Mercator" letters.
During Plevneliev meeting with Slovakian President Gasparovic, the two heads of state also arranged a later visit of Plevneliev to Slovakia for the celebration of the 1,150 anniversary of the 863 Great Moravia mission of Saints Cyril and Methodius, who were instrumental in translating the Bible into Slavic and in creating the Cyrillic script.
May 24, the day of Saints Cyril and Methodius, serves as an emotional and spiritual bridge between the peoples of Bulgaria and Italy because of a shared religious tradition represented by the brothers, but this year's visit to Rome for the commemoration by Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov saw other important business being done as well.
The Saints Cyril and Methodius, whose spiritual and scholarly activities have also left their mark here, in the Vatican, make me felt proud to be Bulgarian.
Kirill I, Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia, presented Zlatko Lecevski, Ambassador of the Republic of Macedonia to the Russian Federation, with the award International Saints Cyril and Methodius Prize within the frames of the marking of the Days of Slavic Literacy and Culture in the Russian Federation in Moscow on 25 May, prior to the start of the formal concert dedicated to the Slav educators, the brothers St.
May 24 is the feast of the "Apostles of the Slavs", the Bulgarian brothers Saints Cyril and Methodius, who began their historic mission in the ninth century by first seeking the blessing of the pope.
Trud writes the Ambassador was invited to attend a presentation of seniors from the Saints Cyril and Methodius High School, dedicated to the potential of the town of Asenovgrad to become a tourist attraction, but at the last moment was unable to get in.