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Cyril and Methodius

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Constantine (later Cyril) and Michael (later [[Methodius of Moravia|Methodius]]) were born early in the 9th century in Thessalonika into a senatorial family. The years of their birth are uncertain. Constantine, the olderelder of the two, may have been born in 826, while Methodius is believed to have been born in 827. Their father, Leon, was Drungarios of the Byzantine Roman Thema of Thessalonika, which position whose jurisdiction included the Slavs of Macedonia. Their mother is believed to have been Slavic. Being raised in an area with both Greek and Slavic speakers endowed the brothers with a good knowledge of the two languages. As befitting their family's position, they were well educated.
At a young age the brothers lost their father and they were raised under the protection of their uncle Theoctistos, who was a powerful official in the Byzantine government, responsible for postal services and the diplomatic relations of the empire. In 843, he invited Constantine to Constantinople to continue his studies at the university there. He was [[ordain]]ed a [[deacon]] in Constantinopole. As Constantine was knowledgeable in theology and had a good command of the Arabic and Hebrew languages, his first state mission to the Abbasid Caliph Al-Mutawakkil was to discuss the principle of the [[Holy Trinity]] with Arab theologians and thus improve the Empire's diplomatic relations with the Abbasid Caliphate.
Theoctistos also arranged for Michael a position as an official in the Slavic administration of the empirefor Michael. He soon went to the monastery at Mount Olympus where he was [[tonsure]]d with the name Methodius.
In 860, Emperor Michael III and [[Photios the Great|Photius]], [[List of Patriarchs of Constantinople|Patriarch of Constantinople]], sent the brothers to the Khagan of the Khazars on a missionary expedition in an attempt to forestall the Khagan from embracing [[Judaism]]. The mission was unsuccessful as the Khagan chose Judaism for his people, but many people embraced Christianity. Upon their return, Constantine was appointed professor of philosophy in the university.
The German [[clergy]] had used their liturgical language, Latin, as a measure to maintain their influence in Moravia and therefore were unhappy with the work of Constantine and Methodius, and they used this difference to attack the brothers. After laboring for about four years, the brothers were called by Nicholas I to appear in [[Church of Rome|Rome]] to defend their work. The area in which they worked was within the [[jurisdiction]] of Rome. However, before their arrival, in 869 Nicholas died and was succeeded by [[Adrian II of Rome|Adrian II]]. After Adrian was convinced of the orthodoxy of the brothers, he approved their use of Slavonic in their church services and commended their work. He then [[Consecration of a bishop|consecrated]] Methodius [[bishop]]. Constantine took monastic vows in a Greek monastery in Rome. He was given the name ''Cyril'', the name by which he is now commonly known. Cyril was not to return to Moravia as he died shortly thereafter. The date of Cyril's death is uncertain, but appears to have been shortly after his consecration, both perhaps in February 869, with his death most probably on [[February 14]].
Adrian II reestablished the old [[diocese]] of Panonia, as the first Slavonic diocese of Moravia and Pannonia, independent of the Germans, at the request of the Slavic princes Rastislav, Svatopluk, and Kocel. Here Methodius was appointed to the new diocese as [[archbishop]]. However, on returning to Moravia in 870, King Louis and the German bishops summoned Methodius to a [[synod]] at Radisbon, where they deposed him and sent him to prison. After the Germans suffered military defeats in Moravia, [[Adrian III of Rome|John VIII]] freed him three years later and restored Methodius as Archbishop of Moravia. Soon his orthodoxy was again under question by the Germans, particularly over the use of Slavonic. Once again John VIII sanctioned the use of Slavonic in the [[liturgy]] but with the stipulation that the [[Gospel]] must first be read in Latin before the reading in Slavonic. Also, Methodius' accuser, Wiching, was named a [[vicar bishop]] to Methodius, and from this position he continued to oppose him. With his health damaged during his long struggle with his opponents, Methodius died on [[April 6]], 885, after having recommended as his successor his [[disciple]], the Moravian Slav, Gorazd. The brothers are remembered on [[May 11]]. St. Cyril's repose is also commemorated on [[February 14]], and St. Methodius's repose is also commemorated on [[April 6]].
The brothers Cyril and Methodius are most renowned for the development of the Glagolitic alphabet that was used to bring literacy and Christian literature to the Slavs in their own language. With further development by their disciples it became the Cyrillic alphabet, which is now used by many of the Slavic peoples. However, the work of the brothers in translating the Holy Scriptures, the services, Nomocanon, and other Christian literature into Slavonic has been the greatest example of Orthodox missionaries bringing Christianity to the peoples of the world.
While events only a few decades after the death of Methodius seemed to destroy their work in Moravia, their work became the foundation of Slavic civilization in eastern and south-eastern Europe and provided the language footings for the missionary efforts in the coming centuries. It is for this continuation of the practice of the Holy [[Apostles]] of speaking of Christianity in the languages of all the nations that Ss Cyril and Methodius are remembered as ''equal to the apostles''. It is to this heritage that the revived Orthodox Church in the [[Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia|Czech Lands]] (Moravia) look as their origins.
[[Category:Serbian Saints]]
[[Category:Bulgarian Saints]]
[[Category:Greek Saints]]
[[Category:Byzantine Saints]]
[[Category:9th-century saints]]
[[es:Cirilo y Metodio]]
[[ro:Chiril și Metodie]]

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