JOHN PAUL II |
1. THE APOSTLES OF THE
SLAVS, Saints Cyril and Methodius, are remembered by the Church together with
the great work of evangelization which they carried out. Indeed it can be said
that their memory is particularly vivid and relevant to our day.
Considering the grateful veneration enjoyed
for centuries by the holy Brothers from Salonika (the ancient Thessalonica),
especially among the Slav nations, and mindful of their incalculable
contribution to the work of proclaiming the Gospel among those peoples; mindful
too of the cause of reconciliation, friendly coexistence, human development and
respect for the intrinsic dignity of every nation, by my Apostolic Letter
Egregiae Virtutis1 of 31 December 1980 I proclaimed Saints Cyril and
Methodius Co-Patrons of Europe. In this way I followed the path already traced
out by my Predecessors, and notably by Leo XIII, who over a hundred years ago,
on 30 September 1880, extended the cult of the two Saints to the whole Church,
with the Encyclical Epistle Grande Munus,2 and by Paul VI, who, with
the Apostolic Letter Pacis Nuntius3 of 24 October 1964, proclaimed
Saint Benedict Patron of Europe.
2. The purpose of the
document of five years ago was to remind people of these solemn acts of the
Church and to call the attention of Christians and of all people of good will
who have at heart the welfare, harmony and unity of Europe to the ever-living
relevance of the eminent figures of Benedict, Cyril and Methodius, as concrete
models and spiritual aids for the Christians of today, and especially for the
nations of the continent of Europe, which, especially through the prayers and
work of these saints, have long been consciously and originally rooted in the
Church and in Christian tradition.
The publication of my Apostolic Letter in
1980, which was dictated by the firm hope of a gradual overcoming in Europe and
the world of everything that divides the Churches, nations and peoples, was
linked to three circumstances that were the subject of my prayer and
reflection. The first was the eleventh centenary of the Pontifical Letter
Industriae Tuae,4 whereby Pope John VIII in the year 880 approved the
use of the Old Slavonic language in the liturgy translated by the two holy
Brothers. The second circumstance was the first centenary of the
above-mentioned Encyclical Epistle Grande Munus. The third was the beginning,
precisely in 1980, of the happy and promising theological dialogue between the
Catholic Church and the Orthodox Churches on the Island of Patmos.
3. In the present document
I wish to make particular reference to the Epistle Grande Munus, by which Pope
Leo III intended to remind the Church and the world of the apostolic merits of
both the Brothers-not only of Methodius, who, according to tradition, ended his
days at Velehrad in Greater Moravia in the year 885, but also of Cyril, whom
death separated from his brother in 869, when he was in Rome, the city which
received and which still preserves his relics with profound veneration in the
Basilica of Saint Clement.
Recalling the holy lives and apostolic
merits of the two Brothers from Salonika, Pope Leo XIII fixed their annual
liturgical feast on 7 July. After the Second Vatican Council, as a result of
the liturgical reform, the feast was transferred to 14 February, which from the
historical point of view is the date of the heavenly birthday of Saint
Cyril.5 At a distance of over a hundred years from Pope Leo's Epistle,
the new circumstances in which it so happens that there falls the eleventh
centenary of the death of Saint Methodius encourage us to give renewed
expression to the Church's memory of this important anniversary. And a
particular obligation to do so is felt by the first Pope called to the See of
Peter from Poland, and thus from the midst of the Slav nations.
The events of the last hundred years and
especially of the last decades have helped to revive in the Church not only the
religious memory of the two holy Brothers but also a historical and cultural
interest in them. Their special charisms have become still better understood in
the light of the situations and experiences of our own times. A contribution to
this has been made by many events which belong, as true signs of the times, to
the history of the twentieth century; the first of these is that great event
which took place in the life of the Church: the Second Vatican Council. In the
light of the magisterium and pastoral orientation of that Councils we can look
in a new way-a more mature and profound way-at these two holy figures, now
separated from us by eleven centuries. And we can read in their lives and
apostolic activity the elements that the wisdom of divine Providence placed in
them, so that they might be revealed with fresh fullness in our own age and
might bear new fruits.
4. Following the example
offered by the Epistle Grande Munus, I wish to recall the life of Saint
Methodius, without however thereby ignoring the life-so closely liked to it-of
his brother Saint Cyril. This I will do in general terms, leaving to historical
research the detailed discussion of individual points.
The city which saw the birth of the two holy
Brothers is the modern Salonika, which in the ninth century was an important
centre of commercial and political life in the Byzantine Empire, and occupied a
notable position in the intellectual and social life of that part of the
Balkans. Being situated on the frontier of the Slav territories, it also
certainly had a Slav name: Solun.
Methodius was the elder brother and his
baptismal name was probably Michael. He was born between 815 and 820. His
younger brother Constantine, who came to be better known by his religious name
Cyril, was born in 827 or 828. Their father was a senior official of the
imperial administration. The family's social position made possible for the two
Brothers a similar career, which in fact Methodius did take up, reaching the
rank of Archon or Prefect in one of the frontier Provinces where many Slavs
lived. However, towards the year 840 he interrupted his career and retired to
one of the monasteries at the foot of Mount Olympus in Bithynia, then known as
the Holy Mountain.
His brother Cyril studied with great success
in Byzantium, where he received Holy Orders, after having resolutely refused a
brilliant political future. By reason of his exceptional intellectual and
religious talents and knowledge, there were entrusted to him while he has still
a young man delicate ecclesiastical appointments, such as that of Librarian of
the Archive attached to the great church of Holy Wisdom in Constantinople, and,
simultaneously, the prestigious position of Secretary to the Patriarch of that
city. However, he very soon made it known that he wished to be relieved of
these posts, in order to be able to devote himself to study and the
contemplative life, far from the pursuit of ambition. Thus he retired secretly
to a monastery on the Black Sea coast. He was discovered six months later, and
was persuaded to accept the task of teaching philosophy in the School of higher
learning in Constantinople, where by reason of the excellence of his knowledge
he gained the epithet of The Philosopher by which he is still known. Later on
he was sent by the emperor and the Patriarch on a mission to the Saracens. On
the completion of this task he retired from public life in order to join his
elder brother Methodius and share with him the monastic life. But once again,
together with Methodius, he was included in a Byzantine delegation sent to the
Khazars, acting as a religious and cultural expert. While staying in the Crimea
at Kherson, they identified what they believed to be the church in which had
been buried Saint Clement, Pope of Rome and martyr, who had been exiled to that
distant region. They recovered his relics and took them with them.6
These relics later accompanied the two holy Brothers on their missionary
journey to the West, until they were able to bring them solemnly to Rome and present
them to Pope Hadrian II.
5. The event which was to
determine the whole of the rest of their lives was the request made by Prince
Rastislav of Greater Moravia to the Emperor Michael III, to send to his peoples
"a Bishop and teacher ... able to explain to them the true Christian faith
in their own language".7
Those chosen were Saints Cyril and
Methodius, who readily accepted, set out and, probably by the year 863, reached
Greater Moravia-a State then including various Slav peoples of Central Europe,
at the crossroads of the mutual influences between East and West. They
undertook among these peoples that mission to which both of them devoted the
rest of their lives, spent amidst journeys, privations, sufferings, hostility
and persecution, which for Methodius included even a period of cruel
imprisonment. All of this they bore with strong faith and indomitable hope in
God. They had in fact prepared well for the task entrusted to them: they took
with them the texts of the Sacred Scriptures needed for celebrating the Sacred
Liturgy, which they had prepared and translated into the Old Slavonic language
and written in a new alphabet, devised by Constantine the Philosopher and
perfectly adapted to the sounds of that language. The missionary activity of
the two Brothers was accompanied by notable success, but also by the
understandable difficulties which the preceding initial Christianization,
carried out by the neighboring Latin Churches, placed in the way of the new
About three years later, while travelling to
Rome, they stopped in Pannonia where the Slav Prince Kocel, who had fled from
the important civil and religious center of Nitra, gave them a hospitable
reception. From here, after some months, they set out again for Rome together
with their followers, for whom they desired to obtain Holy Orders. Their route
passed through Venice, where the innovating elements of the mission they were
carrying out were subjected to a public discussion. In Rome Pope Hadrian II,
who had in the meantime succeeded Nicholas I, received them very cordially. He
approved the Slavonic liturgical books, which he ordered to be solemnly placed
on the altar in the Church of Saint Mary ad Praesepe, today known as Saint Mary
Major, and recommended that their followers be ordained priests. This phase of
their efforts concluded in a most favorable manner. Methodius however had to
carry out the next stages by himself, because his younger brother, now gravely
ill, scarcely had time to take religious vows and put on the monastic habit
before he died shortly afterwards, on 14 February 869 in Rome.
6. Saint Methodius
remained faithful to the words which Cyril had said to him on his deathbed:
"Behold, my brother, we have shared the same destiny, ploughing the same
furrow; I now fall in the field at the end of my day. I know that you greatly
love your Mountain; but do not for the sake of the Mountain give up your work
of teaching. For where better can you and salvation?"8
Consecrated Archbishop for the territory of
the ancient Diocese of Pannonia, and named Papal Legate "ad gentes"
(for the Slav peoples), he assumed the ecclesiastical title of the
re-established Episcopal See of Sirmium. However, Methodius' apostolic activity
was cut short as the result of political and religious complications which
culminated in his imprisonment for two years, on the charge of having invaded
the episcopal jurisdiction of another. He was set free only on the personal
intervention of Pope John VIII. The new sovereign of Greater Moravia, Prince
Svatopluk, also subsequently showed hostility to the work of Methodius. He
opposed the Slavonic liturgy and spread doubts in Rome about the new
Archbishop's orthodoxy. In the year 880 Methodius was called ad limina
Apostolorum, to present once more the whole question personally to John VIII.
In Rome, absolved of all the accusations, he obtained from the Pope the
publication of the Bull Industriae Tuae,9 which, at least in substance,
restored the prerogatives granted to the liturgy in Slavonic by Pope John's
predecessor Hadrian II.
When in 881 or 882 Methodius went to
Constantinople, he received a similar recognition of perfect legitimacy and
orthodoxy also from the Byzantine Emperor and the Patriarch Photius, who at
that time was in full communion with Rome. He devoted the last years of his
life principally to making further translations of the Sacred Scriptures, the
liturgical books, the works of the Fathers of the Church and also the
collection of ecclesiastical and Byzantine civil laws called the Nomocanon.
Concerned for the survival of the work which he had begun, he named as his
successor his disciple Gorazd. He died on 6 April 885 in the service of the
Church established among the Slav peoples.
7. His far-seeing work,
his profound and orthodox doctrine, his balance, loyalty, apostolic zeal and
intrepid magnanimity gained Methodius the recognition and trust of Roman
Pontiffs, of Patriarchs of Constantinople, of Byzantine Emperors and of various
Princes of the young Slav peoples. Thus he became the guide and legitimate
Pastor of the Church which in that age became established in the midst of those
nations. He is unanimously venerated, together with his brother Constantine, as
the preacher of the Gospel and teacher "from God and the holy Apostle
Peter",10 and as the foundation of full unity between the Churches
of recent foundation and the more ancient ones.
For this reason, "men and women, humble
and powerful, rich and poor, free men and slaves, widows and orphans,
foreigners and local people, the healthy and the sick"11 made up
the throng that amid tears and songs accompanied to his burial place the good
Teacher and Pastor who had become "all things to all men, that I might by
all means save some".12
To tell the truth, after the death of
Methodius the work of the holy Brothers suffered a grave crisis, and
persecution of their followers grew so severe that the latter were forced to
abandon their missionary field. Nonetheless, their sowing of the Gospel seed
did not cease to bear fruit, and their pastoral attitude of concern to bring
the revealed truth to new peoples while respecting their cultural originality
remains a living model for the Church and for the missionaries of all ages.
HERALDS OF THE GOSPEL
8. Byzantine in culture,
the brothers Cyril and Methodius succeeded in becoming apostles of the Slavs in
the full sense of the word. Separation from one's homeland, which God sometimes
requires of those he has chosen, when accepted with faith in his promise is
always a mysterious and fertile pre-condition for the development and growth of
the People of God on earth. The Lord said to Abraham: "Go from your
country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show
you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your
name great, so that you will be a blessing".13
In the dream which Saint Paul had at Troas
in Asia Minor, a Macedonian, therefore an inhabitant of the European continent,
came before him and implored him to come to his country to proclaim there the
Word of God: "Come over to Macedonia and help us.14
Divine Providence, which for the two holy
Brothers expressed itself through the voice and authority of the Emperor of
Byzantium and of the Patriarch of the Church of Constantinople, addressed to
them a similar exhortation, when it asked them to go as missionaries among the
Slavs. For them, this task meant giving up not only a position of honour but
also the contemplative life. It meant leaving the area of the Byzantine Empire
and undertaking a long pilgrimage in the service of the Gospel among peoples
that, in many aspects, were still very alien to the system of civil society
based on the advanced organization of the State and the refined culture of
Byzantium, imbued with Christian principles. A similar request has addressed
three times to Methodius by the Roman Pontiff, when he sent him as Bishop among
the Slavs of Greater Moravia, in the ecclesiastical regions of the ancient
Diocese of Pannonia.
9. The Slavonic Life of
Methodius reports in the following words the request made by the Prince Rastislav
to the Emperor Michael III through his envoys: "Many Christian teachers
have reached us from Italy, from Greece and from Germany, who instruct us in
different ways. But we Slavs ... have no one to direct us towards the truth and
instruct us in an understandable way".15 It was then that
Constantine and Methodius were invited to go there. Their profoundly Christian
response to the invitation in this circumstance and on all similar occasions is
admirably expressed by the words of Constantine to the Emperor: "However
tired and physically worn out I am, I will go with joy to that
land";16 "with joy I depart for the sake of the Christian
The truth and the power of their missionary
mandate came from the depths of the mystery of the Redemption, and their
evangelizing work among the Slav peoples was to constitute an important link in
the mission entrusted by the Savior to the Church until the end of time. It was
a fulfillment - in time and in concrete circumstances - of the words of Christ, who
in the power of his Cross and Resurrection told the Apostles: "Preach the
Gospel to the whole creation";18 "Go therefore and make
disciples of all nations".19 In so doing, the preachers and
teachers of the Slav peoples let themselves be guided by the apostolic ideal of
Saint Paul: "For in Christ Jesus you are all children of God, through
faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is
neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus".20
Together with a great respect for persons
and a disinterested concern for their true good, the two holy Brothers had the
resources of energy, prudence, zeal and charity needed for bringing the light
to the future believers, and at the same time for showing them what is good and
offering concrete help for attaining it. For this purpose they desired to
become similar in every aspect to those to whom they were bringing the Gospel;
they wished to become part of those peoples and to share their lot in
10. Precisely for this
reason they found it natural to take a clear position in all the conflicts
which were disturbing the societies as they became organized. They took as
their own the difficulties and problems inevitable for peoples who were
defending their own identity against the military and cultural pressure of the
new Romano-Germanic Empire, and who were attempting to resist forms of life
which they felt to be foreign. It was also the beginning of wider divergencies,
which were unfortunately destined to increase, between Eastern and Western
Christianity, and the two holy missionaries found themselves personally
involved in this. But they always succeeded in maintaining perfect orthodoxy
and consistent attention both to the deposit of tradition and to the new
elements in the lives of the peoples being evangelized. Situations of
opposition often weighed upon them in all their uncertain and painful complexity.
But this did not cause Constantine and Methodius to try to withdraw from the
trial. Misunderstanding, overt bad faith and even, for Saint Methodius,
imprisonment accepted for love of Christ, did not deflect either of them from
their tenacious resolve to help and to serve the good of the Slav peoples and
the unity of the universal Church. This was the price which they had to pay for
the spreading of the Gospel, the missionary enterprise, the courageous search
for new forms of living and effective ways of bringing the Good News to the
Slav nations which were then forming.
For the purposes of evangelization, the two
holy Brothers-as their biographies indicate-undertook the difficult task of
translating the texts of the Sacred Scriptures, which they knew in Greek, into
the language of the Slav population which had settled along the borders of
their own region and native city. Making use of their own Greek language and
culture for this arduous and unusual enterprise, they set themselves to
understanding and penetrating the language, customs and traditions of the Slav
peoples, faithfully interpreting the aspirations and human values which were
present and expressed therein.
11. In order to translate
the truths of the Gospel into a new language, they had to make an effort to
gain a good grasp of the interior world of those to whom they intended to
proclaim the word of God in images and concepts that would sound familiar to
them. They realized that an essential condition of the success of their missionary
activity was to transpose correctly Biblical notions and Greek theological
concepts into a very different context of thought and historical experience. It
was a question of a new method of catechesis. To defend its legitimacy and
prove its value, Saint Methodius, at first together with his brother and then
alone, did not hesitate to answer with docility the invitations to come to
Rome, invitations received first from Pope Nicholas I in 867 and then from Pope
John VIII in 879. Both Popes wished to compare the doctrine being taught by the
Brothers in Greater Moravia with that which the holy Apostles Peter and Paul
had passed down, together with the glorious trophy of their holy relics, to the
Church's chief episcopal See.
Previously, Constantine and his fellow
workers had been engaged in creating a new alphabet, so that the truths to be
proclaimed and explained could be written in Old Slavonic and would thus be
fully comprehended and grasped by their hearers. The effort to learn the
language and to understand the mentality of the new peoples to whom they wished
to bring the faith was truly worthy of the missionary spirit. Exemplary too was
their determination to assimilate and identify themselves with all the needs
and expectations of the Slav peoples. Their generous decision to identify
themselves with those peoples' life and traditions, once having purified and
enlightened them by Revelation, make Cyril and Methodius true models for all
the missionaries who in every period have accepted Saint Paul's invitation to
become all things to all people in order to redeem all. And in particular for
the missionaries who, from ancient times until the present day, from Europe to
Asia and today in every continent, have labored to translate the Bible and the
texts of the liturgy into the living languages of the various peoples, so as to
bring them the one word of God, thus made accessible in each civilization's own
forms of expression.
Perfect communion in love preserves the
Church from all forms of particularism, ethnic exclusivism or racial prejudice,
and from any nationalistic arrogance. This communion must elevate and sublimate
every purely natural legitimate sentiment of the human heart.
THEY PLANTED THE CHURCH OF GOD
12. But the characteristic
of the approach adopted by the Apostles of the Slavs Cyril and Methodius which
I especially wish to emphasize is the peaceful way in which they built up the
Church, guided as they were by their vision of the Church as one, holy and
Even though Slav Christians, more than
others, tend to think of the holy Brothers as "Slavs at heart", the
latter nevertheless remain men of Hellenic culture and Byzantine training. In
other words, men who fully belonged to the civil and ecclesiastical tradition
of the Christian East.
Already in their time certain differences
between Constantinople and Rome had begun to appear as pretexts for disunity,
even though the deplorable split between the two parts of the same Christian
world was still in the distant future. The evangelizers and teachers of the
Slavs set out for Greater Moravia imbued with all the wealth of tradition and
religious experience which marked Eastern Christianity and which was
particularly evident in theological teaching and in the celebration of the
The sacred rites in all the Churches within
the borders of the Byzantine Empire had long been celebrated in Greek. However;
the traditions of many national Churches of the East, such as the Georgian and
Syriac, which used the language of the people in their liturgies, were well
known to the advanced cultural milieu of Constantinople. They were especially
well known to Constantine the Philosopher, as a result of his studies and of
his many contacts with Christians belonging to those Churches, both in the
capital and in the course of his journeys.
Both the Brothers were aware of the
antiquity and legitimacy of these traditions, and were therefore not afraid to
use the Slavonic language in the liturgy and lo make it into an effective
instrument for bringing the divine truths to those who spoke it. This they did
without any spirit of superiority or domination, but out of love of justice and
with a clear apostolic zeal for peoples then developing.
Western Christianity, after the migrations
of the new peoples, had amalgamated the newly arrived ethnic groups with the
Latin- peaking population already living there, and had extended to all, in
order to unite them, the Latin language, liturgy and culture which had been transmitted
by the Church of Rome. The uniformity thus achieved gave relatively young and
rapidly expanding societies a sense of strength and compactness, which
contributed to a closer unity among them and a more forceful affirmation in
Europe. It is understandable that in such a situation differences sometimes
came to be regarded as a threat to a still incomplete unity. One can also
understand how strongly the temptation was felt to eliminate such differences,
even by using forms of coercion.
13. At this point it is an
unusual and admirable thing that the holy Brothers, working in such complex and
precarious situations, did not seek to impose on the peoples assigned to their
preaching either the undeniable superiority of the Greek language and Byzantine
culture, or the customs and way of life of the more advanced society in which
they had grown up and which necessarily remained familiar and dear to them.
Inspired by the ideal of uniting in Christ the new believers, they adapted to
the Slavonic language the rich and refined texts of the Byzantine liturgy and
likewise adapted to the mentality and customs of the new peoples the subtle and
complex elaborations of Greco-Roman law. In following this programme of harmony
and peace, Cyril and Methodius were ever respectful of the obligations of their
mission. They acknowledged the traditional prerogatives and ecclesiastical
rights laid down by Conciliar Canons. Thus, though subjects of the Eastern
Empire and believers subject to the Patriarchate of Constantinople, they
considered it their duty to give an account of their missionary work to the
Roman Pontiff. They likewise submitted to his judgment, in order to obtain his
approval, the doctrine which they professed and taught, the liturgical books
which they had written in the Slavonic language, and the methods which they
were using in evangelizing those peoples.
Having undertaken their mission under orders
from Constantinople, they then in a sense sought to have it confirmed by approaching
the Apostolic See of Rome, the visible center: of the Church's unity.21
Thus they established the Church with an awareness of her universality as one,
holy, catholic and apostolic. This is clearly and explicitly seen in their
whole way of acting. It can be said that Jesus' priestly prayer- ut unum sint
22 is their missionary motto in accordance with the Psalmist's words:
"Praise the Lord, all nations! Extol him, all peoples".23 For
us today their apostolate also possesses the eloquence of an ecumenical appeal:
it is an invitation to restore, in the peace of reconciliation, the unity that
was gravely damaged after the time of Cyril and Methodius, and, first and
foremost, the unity between East and West.
The conviction held by the holy Brothers
from Salonika, namely that each local Church is called to enrich with its own
endowments the Catholic "pleroma", was in perfect harmony with their
evangelical insight that the different conditions of life of the individual Christian
Churches can never justify discord, disagreement and divisions in the
profession of the one faith and in the exercise of charity.
14. As we know, according
to the teaching of the Second Vatican Council " the 'ecumenical movement'
means those activities and enterprises which, according to various needs of the
Church and as opportunities offer, are initiated and organized to promote
Christian unity".24 Thus it seems in no way anachronistic to see
Saints Cyril and Methodius as the authentic precursors of ecumenism, inasmuch
as they wished to eliminate effectively or to reduce any divisions, real or
only apparent, between the individual communities belonging to the same Church.
For the division which unfortunately occurred in the course of the Church's
history and which sadly still persists "not only openly contradicts the
will of Christ, (but) provides a stumbling block to the world, and inflicts
damage on the most holy cause of proclaiming the Gospel to every
The fervent solicitude shown by both
Brothers and especially by Methodius by reason of his episcopal responsibility,
to preserve unity of faith and love between the Churches of which they were
members, namely, between the Church of Constantinople and the Church of Rome on
the one hand, and the Churches which arose in the lands of the Slavs on the
other, was and will always remain their great merit. This merit is all the
greater if one takes into account the fact that their mission was exercised in
the years 863-885, thus in the critical years when there emerged and began-to
grow more serious the fatal discord and bitter controversy between the Churches
of the East and the West. The division was accentuated by the question of where
Bulgaria, which had just officially accepted Christianity, canonically
In this stormy period, which was also marked
by armed conflicts between neighboring Christian peoples, the holy Brothers
from Salonika preserved a resolute and vigilant fidelity to right doctrine and
to the tradition of the perfectly united Church, and in particular to the
"divine teachings" and "ecclesiastical teachings"26
on which, in accordance with the Canons of the ancient Councils, her structure
and organization was founded. This fidelity enabled them to complete their
great missionary tasks and to remain in full spiritual and canonical unity with
the Church of Rome, with the Church of Constantinople and with the new Churches
which they had founded among the Slav peoples.
15. Methodius especially
did not hesitate to face misunderstandings, conflicts and even slanders and
physical persecution, rather than fall short of his exemplary ecclesial
fidelity, and in order to remain faithful to his duties as a Christian and a
Bishop and to the obligations which he had assumed vis-a-vis the Church of
Byzantium which had begotten him and sent him out as a missionary together with
Cyril. Then there were his obligations to the Church of Rome, thanks to which
he fulfilled his charge as Archbishop in "the territory of Saint
Peter";27 likewise his obligations to that Church growing in the
lands of the Slavs, which he accepted as his own and successfully
defended-convinced of his just-right before the ecclesiastical and civil authorities,
protecting in particular the liturgy in the Old Slavonic language and the
fundamental ecclesiastical rights proper to the Churches in the various
By thus acting, he always resorted, as did
Constantine the Philosopher, to dialogue with those who opposed his ideas or
his pastoral initiatives and who cast doubt on their legitimacy. Thus he would
always remain a teacher for all those who, in whatever age, seek to eliminate
discord by respecting the manifold fullness of the Church, which, conforming to
the will of its Founder Jesus Christ, must be always one, holy, catholic and
apostolic. This task was perfectly reflected in the Creed of the 150 Fathers of
the Second Ecumenical Council of Constantinople, which is the unalterable
profession of faith of all Christians.
CATHOLIC SENSE OF THE CHURCH
16. It is not only the
evangelical content of the doctrine proclaimed by Saints Cyril and Methodius
that merits particular emphasis. Also very expressive and instructive for the
Church today is the catcehetic and pastoral method that they applied in their
apostolic activity among the peoples who had not yet heard the Sacred Mysteries
celebrated in their native language, nor heard the word of God proclaimed in a
way that completely fitted their own mentality and respected the actual
conditions of their own life.
We know that the Second Vatican Council,
twenty years ago, had as one of its principal tasks that of reawakening the
self-awareness of the Church and, through her interior renewal, of impressing
upon her a fresh missionary impulse for the proclamation of the eternal message
of salvation, peace and mutual concord among peoples and nations, beyond all
the frontiers that yet divide our planet, which is intended by the will of God
the Creator and Redeemer to be the common dwelling for all humanity. The
dangers that in our times are accumulating over our world cannot make us forget
the prophetic insight of Pope John XXIII, who convoked the Council with the
intent and the conviction that it would be capable of preparing and initiating
a period of springtime and rebirth in the life of the Church.
And, among its statements on the subject of
universality, the same Council included the following: "All men are called
to belong to the new People of God. Wherefore this People, while remaining one
and unique, is to be spread throughout the whole world and must exist in all
ages, so that the purpose of God's will may be fulfilled. In the beginning God
made human nature one. After his children were scattered, he decreed that they
should at length be unified again (cf. Jn 11:52)... The Church or People of God
takes nothing away from the temporal welfare of any people by establishing that
kingdom. Rather does she foster and take to herself, insofar as they are good,
the abilities, resources, and customs of each people. Taking them to herself
she purifies, strengthens, and enobles them... This characteristic of
universality which adorns the People of God is a gift from the Lord himself...
In virtue of this catholicity each individual part of the Church contributes
through its special gifts to the good of the other parts and of the whole
Church. Thus through the common sharing of gifts and through the common effort
to attain fullness in unity, the whole and each of its parts receive
17. We can say without
fear of contradiction that such a traditional and at the same time extremely
up-to-date vision of the catholicity of the Church-like a symphony of the
various liturgies in all the world's languages united in one single liturgy, or
a melodious chorus sustained by the voices of unnumbered multitudes, rising in
countless modulations, tones and harmonies for the praise of God from every
part of the globe, at every moment of history-this vision corresponds in a
particular way to the theological and pastoral vision which inspired the
apostolic and missionary work of Constantine the Philosopher and of Methodius,
and which sustained their mission among the Slav nations.
In Venice, before the representatives of the
ecclesiastical world, who held a rather narrow idea of the Church and were
opposed to this vision, Saint Cyril defended it with courage. He showed that
many peoples had already in the past introduced and now possessed a liturgy
written and celebrated in their own language, such as " the Armenians, the
Persians, the Abasgians, the Georgians, the Sogdians, the Goths, the Avars, the
Tirsians, the Khazars, the Arabs, the Copts, the Syrians and many others".29
Reminding them that God causes the sun to
rise and the rain to fall on all people without exception,30 he said:
"Do not all breathe the air in the same way? And you are not ashamed to
decree only three languages (Hebrew, Greek and Latin), deciding that all other
peoples and races should remain blind and deaf! Tell me: do you hold this
because you consider God is so weak that he cannot grant it, or so envious that
he does not wish it?".31 To the historical and logical arguments
which they brought against him Cyril replied by referring to the inspired basis
of Sacred Scripture: "Let every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father";32 "All the earth worships
you; they sing praises to you, sing praises to your name";33
"Praise the Lord, all nations! Extol him, all peoples!".34
18. The Church is catholic
also because she is able to present in every human context the revealed truth,
preserved by her intact in its divine content, in such a way as to bring it
into contact with the lofty thoughts and just expectations of every individual
and every people. Moreover, the entire patrimony of good which every generation
transmits to posterity, together with the priceless gift of life, forms as it
were an immense and many-coloured collection of tesserae that together make up
the living mosaic of the Pantocrator, who will manifest himself in his total
splendour only at the moment of the Parousia.
The Gospel does not lead to the
impoverishment or extinction of those things which every individual, people and
nation and every culture throughout history recognizes and brings into being as
goodness, truth and beauty. On the contrary, it strives to assimilate and to
develop all these values: to live them with magnanimity and joy and to perfect
them by the mysterious and ennobling light of Revelation.
The concrete dimension of catholicity,
inscribed by Christ the Lord in the very make-up of the Church, is not
something static, outside history and flatly uniform. In a certain sense it
wells up and develops every day as something new from the unanimous faith of
all those who believe in God, One and Three, revealed by Jesus Christ and
preached by the Church through the power of the Holy Spirit. This dimension
issues quite spontaneously from mutual respect proper to fraternal love-for
every person and every nation, great or small, and from the honest
acknowledgment of the qualities and rights of brethren in the faith.
19. The catholicity of the
Church is manifested in the active joint responsibility and generous
cooperation of all for the sake of the common good. The Church everywhere
effects her universality by accepting, uniting and exalting in the way that is
properly hers, with motherly care, every real human value. At the same time,
she strives in every clime and every historical situation to win for God each
and every human person, in order to unite them with one another and with him in
his truth and his love.
All individuals, all nations, cultures and
civilizations have their own part to play and their own place in God's
mysterious plan and in the universal history of salvation. This was the thought
of the two holy Brothers: God "merciful and kind",35
"waiting for all people to repent,) that all may be saved and come to the
knowledge of the Truth,36 ... does not allow the human race to succumb
to weakness and perish, and to fall into the temptation of the enemy. But year
by year and at every time he does not cease to lavish on us a manifold grace,
from the beginning until today in the same way: first, through the Patriarchs
and Fathers, and after them through the Prophets; and again through the
Apostles and Martyrs, the just men and the Doctors whom he chooses in the midst
of this stormy life".37
20. The message of the
Gospel which Saints Cyril and Methodius translated for the Slav peoples,
drawing with wisdom from the treasury of the Church "things old and
new",38 was transmitted through preaching and instruction in
accordance with the eternal truths, at the same time being adapted to the
concrete historical situation. Thanks to the missionary efforts of both Saints,
the Slav peoples were able for the first time to realize their own vocation to
share in the eternal design of the Most Holy Trinity, in the universal plan for
the salvation of the world. At the same time, they can recognized their role at
the service of the whole history of the humanity created by God the Father,
redeemed by the Son our Savior and enlightened by the Holy Spirit. Thanks to
this preaching, duly approved by the authorities of the Church-the Bishops of
Rome and the Patriarchs of Constantinople-the Slavs were able to feel that they
too, together with the other nations of the earth, were descendants and heirs
of the promise made by God to Abraham.39 In this way, thanks to the
ecclesiastical organization created by Saint Methodius and thanks to their
awareness of their own Christian identity, the Slavs took their destined place
in the Church which had now arisen also in that part of Europe. For this
reason, their modern descendants keep in grateful and everlasting remembrance
the one who became the link that binds them to the chain of the great heralds
of the divine Revelation of the Old and New Testaments: "After all of
these, the merciful God, in our own time, raised up for the good work, for the
sake of our own people, for whom nobody had ever cared, our Teacher, the holy
Methodius, whose virtues and struggles we unblushingly compare, one by one, to
those of these men pleasing to God".40
THE GOSPEL AND CULTURE
21. The Brothers from
Salonika were not only heirs of the faith but also heirs of the culture of
Ancient Greece, continued by Byzantium. Everyone knows how important this
heritage is for the whole of European culture and, directly or indirectly, for
the culture of the entire world. The work of evangelization which they carried
out as pioneers in territory inhabited by Slav peoples-contains both a model of
what today is called " inculturation the incarnation of the Gospel in
native cultures and also the introduction of these cultures into the life of
By incarnating the Gospel in the native
culture of the peoples which they were evangelizing, Saints Cyril and Methodius
were especially meritorious for the formation and development of that same
culture, or rather of many cultures. Indeed all the cultures of the Slav
nations owe their "beginning" or development to the work of the
Brothers from Salonika. For by their original and ingenious creation of an
alphabet for the Slavonic language the Brothers made a fundamental contribution
to the culture and literature of all the Slav nations.
Furthermore, the translation of the sacred
books, carried out by Cyril and Methodius together with their pupils, conferred
a capacity and cultural dignity upon the Old Slavonic liturgical language,
which became for many hundreds of years not only the ecclesiastical but also
the official and literary language, and even the common language of the more
educated classes of the greater part of the Slav nations, and in particular of
all the Slavs of the Eastern Rite. It was also used in the Church of the Holy
Cross in Cracow, where the Slav Benedictines had established themselves. Here
were published the first liturgical books printed in this language. Up to the
present day this is the language used in the Byzantine liturgy of the Slavonic
Eastern Churches of the Rite of Constantinople, both Catholic and Orthodox, in
Eastern and South Eastern Europe, as well as in various countries of Western
Europe. It is also used in the Roman liturgy of the Catholics of Croatia.
22. In the historical development
of the Slavs of Eastern Rite, this language played a role equal to that of the
Latin language in the West. It also lasted longer than Latin in part until the
nineteenth century-and exercised a much more direct influence on the formation
of the local literary languages, thanks to its close kinship with them. These
merits vis-a-vis the culture of all the Slav peoples and nations make the work
of evangelization carried out by Saints Cyril and Methodius in a certain sense
constantly present in the history and in the life of these peoples and nations.
THE SIGNIFICANCE AND INFLUENCE OF THE CHRISTIAN MILLENNIUM IN THE SLAV WORLD
23. The apostolic and
missionary activity of Saints Cyril and Methodius, which belongs to the second
half of the ninth century, can be considered the first effective evangelization
of the Slavs.
This activity involved the individual
territories in varying degrees, and was mainly concentrated in the territories
of the then existing State of Greater Moravia. It principally included the
regions belonging to the metropolis of which Methodius was pastor, namely
Moravia, Slovakia and Pannonia, the last being a part of modern Hungary.
Included in the sphere of the wider influence exercised by this apostolic
activity, especially that of the missionaries trained by Methodius, were the
other groups of Western Slavs, particularly those of Bohemia. The first
historical Prince of Bohemia of the dynasty of the Premyslids, Bozyvoj
(Borivoj), was probably baptized according to the Slavonic Rite. Later this
influence reached the Sorbo-Lusatian tribes, and the territories of southern
Poland. However, from the time of the fall of Greater Moravia in about 905- 906
the Latin Rite took the place of the Slav Rite and Bohemia was assigned
ecclesiastically to the Bishop of Regensburg and the metropolis of Salzburg.
However, it is worthy of note that about the middle of the tenth century, at
the time of Saint Wenceslaus, there was still a strong intermingling of the
elements of both rites, and an advanced coexistence of both languages in the
liturgy: Slavonic and Latin. Moreover, the Christianization of the people was
not possible without using the native language. And only upon such a foundation
could the development of the Christian terminology in Bohemia take place, and
from here, subsequently, the development and consolidation of ecclesiastical
terminology in Poland. Information about the Prince of the Vislits in the Lite
of Methodius is the most ancient historical reference to one of the Polish
tribes.41 Insufficient data exist for it to be possible to link this
item of information with the institution in the Polish territories of a Slav
Rite ecclesiastical organization.
24. The Baptism of Poland
in 966, in the person of the first historical sovereign, Mieszko, who married
the Bohemian princess Dubravka, took place principally through the Bohemian
Church, and by this route Christianity reached Poland from Rome in the Latin
form. But the fact remains that the beginnings of Christianity in Poland are in
a way linked with the work of the Brothers who set out from distant Salonika.
Among the Slavs of the Balkan peninsula the
efforts of the holy Brothers bore fruit in an even more visible way. Thanks to
their apostolate the Christianity which had already for some time been
established in Croatia was consolidated.
Principally through their disciples who had
been expelled from the area where they had originally worked the mission of
Cyril and Methodius was confirmed and developed wonderfully in Bulgaria. Here,
thanks to Saint Clement of Okhrid, dynamic centers of monastic life arose, and
here particularly the Cyrillic alphabet developed. From here too Christianity
moved to other territories, until it passed through neighboring Romania and
reached the ancient Rus' of Kiev, and then spread from Moscow eastwards. In a
few years, in 1988 to be exact, the millennium of the baptism of Saint
Vladimir, Grand Duke of Kiev, will be celebrated.
25. Rightly therefore
Saints Cyril and Methodius were at an early date recognized by the family of
Slav peoples as the fathers of both their Christianity and their culture. In
many of the territories mentioned above, although there had been various
missionaries, the majority of the Slav population in the ninth century still
retained pagan customs and beliefs. Only in the land cultivated by our Saints,
or at least prepared by them for cultivation, did Christianity definitively
enter the history of the Slavs during the following century.
Their work is an outstanding contribution to
the formation of the common Christian roots of Europe, roots which by their
strength and vitality are one of the most solid points of reference, which no
serious attempt to reconstruct in a new and relevant way the unity of the
Continent can ignore.
After eleven centuries of Christianity among
the Slavs, we clearly see that the heritage of the Brothers from Salonika is
and remains for the Slavs deeper and stronger than any division. Both Christian
traditions-the Eastern deriving from Constantinople and the Western deriving
from Rome arose in the bosom of the one Church, even though against the
background of different cultures and of a different approach to the same
problems. This diversity, when its origin is properly understood and when its
value and meaning are properly considered, can only enrich the culture of
Europe and its religious tradition, and likewise become an adequate foundation
for its hoped- for spiritual renewal.
26. Ever since the ninth
century, when in Christian Europe a new organization was emerging, Saints Cyril
and Methodius have held out to us a message clearly of great relevance for our
own age, which precisely by reason of the many complex problems of a religious,
cultural, civil and international nature, is seeking a vital unity in the real
communion of its various elements. It can be said of the two evangelizers that
characteristic of them was their love for the communion of the universal Church
both in the East and in the West, and, within the universal Church, love for
the particular Church that was coming into being in the Slav nations. From them
also comes for the Christians and-people of our time the invitation to build
But it is in the specific area of missionary
activity that the example of Cyril and Methodius is of even greater value. For
this activity is an essential task of the Church, and is urgent today in the
already mentioned form of "inculturation". The two Brothers not only
carried out their mission with full respect for the culture already existing
among the Slav peoples, but together with religion they eminently and
unceasingly promoted and extended that culture. By analogy, today the Churches
of ancient origin can and must help the young Churches and peoples to mature in
their own identity and progress in it.42
27. Cyril and Methodius
are as it were the connecting links or spiritual bridge between the Eastern and
Western traditions, which both come together in the one great Tradition of the
universal Church. For us they are the champions and also the patrons of the
ecumenical endeavor of the sister Churches of East and West, for the rediscovery
through prayer and dialogue of visible Unity in perfect and total communion,
"the unity which", as I said on the occasion of my visit to Bari,
"is neither absorption nor fusion".43 Unity is a meeting in
truth and love, granted to us by the Spirit. Cyril and Methodius, in their
personality and their work, are figures that awaken in all Christians a great
"longing for union" and for unity between the two sister Churches of
East and West.44 For full catholicity, every nation, every culture has
its own part to play in the universal plan of salvation. Every particular
tradition, every local Church must remain open and alert to the other Churches
and traditions and, at the same time, to universal and catholic communion; were
it to remain closed in on itself, it too would run the risk of becoming
By exercising their own charism, Cyril and
Methodius made a decisive contribution to the building of Europe not only in
Christian religious communion but also to its civil and cultural union. Not
even today does there exist any other way of overcoming tensions and repairing
the divisions and antagonisms both in Europe: and in the world which threaten
to cause a frightful destruction of lives and values. Being Christians in our
day means being builders of communion in the Church and in society. This calls
for openness to others, mutual understanding, and readiness to cooperate
through the generous exchange of cultural and spiritual resources.
One of the fundamental aspirations of
humanity today is to rediscover unity and communion for a life truly worthy of
man on the worldwide level. The Church, conscious of being the universal sign
and sacrament of salvation and of the unity of the human race, declares her
readiness to accomplish this duty of hers, to which "the conditions of
this age lend special urgency so that all people joined more closely today by
various social, technical, and cultural bonds can achieve as well full unity in
28. It is fitting, then,
that the Church should celebrate with solemnity and joy the eleven centuries
that have elapsed since the close of the apostolic work of the first
Archbishop, ordained in Rome for the Slav peoples, Methodius, and of his
brother Cyril, and that she should thus commemorate the entry of these peoples
on to the scene of the history of salvation and into the of European nations
which during the preceding centuries had already accepted the Gospel message.
Everyone will understand with what profound happiness I will share in this
celebration as the first son of the Slav race to be called, after nearly two
millennia, to occupy the episcopal see that once belonged to Peter in this city
29. "Into thy hands I
commend my spirit": we salute the eleventh centenary of Saint Methodius'
death with the very words which as his Life in Old Slavonic46 recounts
he uttered before he died, when he was about to join his fathers in faith, hope
and charity: the Patriarchs, Prophets, Apostles, Doctors and Martyrs. By the
testimony of his words and life, sustained by the charism of the Spirit, he
gave an example of a vocation fruitful not only for the century in which he
lived but also for the centuries which followed, and in a special way for our
own times. His blessed "passing" in the spring of the year 885 after
the Incarnation of Christ (and according to the Byzantine calculation of time,
in the year 6393 since the creation of the world took place at a time when
disquieting clouds were gathering above Constantinople and hostile tensions
were increasingly threatening the peace and life of the nations, and even
threatening the sacred bonds of Christian brotherhood and communion linking the
Churches of the East and West.
In his Cathedral, filled with the faithful
of different races, the disciples of Saint Methodius paid solemn homage to
their dead pastor for the message of salvation, peace and reconciliation which
he had brought and to which he had devoted his life: "They celebrated a
sacred office in Latin, Greek and Slavonic",47 adoring God and
venerating the first Archbishop of the Church which he established among the
Slavs, to whom he and his brother had proclaimed the Gospel in their own language.
This Church grew even stronger when through the explicit consent of the Pope it
received a native hierarchy, rooted in the apostolic succession and remaining
in unity of faith and love both with the Church of Rome and with that of
Constantinople, from which the Slav mission had begun.
Now that eleven centuries have passed since
his death, I desire to be present at least spiritually in Velehrad, where-it
seems-Providence enabled Methodius to end his apostolic life:
-I desire also to pause in the Basilica of
Saint Clement in Rome, in the place where Saint Cyril was buried;
-and at the Tombs of both these Brothers,
the Apostles of the Slavs, I desire to recommend to the Most Blessed Trinity
their spiritual heritage with a special prayer.
30. "Into your
hands I commend...".
O great God, One in Trinity, I entrust to
you the heritage of faith of the Slav nations; preserve and bless this work of
Remember, O Almighty Father, the moment
when, in accordance with your will, the "fullness of time" arrived
for these peoples and nations, and the holy Missionaries from Salonika
faithfully fulfilled the command that your Son Jesus Christ had entrusted to
his Apostles; following in their footsteps and in those of their successors,
they brought into the lands inhabited by the Slavs the light of the Gospel, the
Good News of salvation and, in their presence, bore testimony
-that you are the Creator of man, that you
are our Father and that in you we are all brethren;
-that through the Son, your eternal Word,
you have given existence to all things, and have called human beings to share
in your life without end;
-that you have so loved the world as to
grant it the gift of your only begotten Son, who for us men and for our
salvation, came down from heaven and by the power of the Holy Spirit became
incarnate in the womb of the Virgin Mary and was made man;
-and that finally you have sent the Spirit
of power and consolation so that every human being, redeemed by Christ, may in
him receive the dignity of a child and become a co-heir of the unfailing
promises which you have made to humanity!
Your plan of creation, O Father, culminating
in the Redemption, touches the living man and embraces his entire life and the
history of all peoples.
Grant, O Father, what the whole Church today
implores from you and grant also that the people and the nations which, thanks
to the apostolic mission of the holy Brothers from Salonika, have known and
accepted you, the true God, and through Baptism have entered into the holy
community of your children, may still continue, without hindrance, to accept
with enthusiasm and trust this evangelical programme and continue to realize
all their human possibilities on the foundation of their teachings!
-May they follow, in conformity with their
own conscience, the voice of your call along the paths shown to them for the
first time eleven centuries ago!
-May their membership of the Kingdom of your
Son never be considered by anyone to be contrary to the good of their earthly
-May they render to you due praise in
private and in public life!
-May they live in truth, charity, justice
and in the enjoyment of the messianic peace which enfolds human hearts,
communities, the earth and the entire universe!
-Aware of their dignity as human beings and
children of God, may they have the strength to overcome all hatred and to
conquer evil with good!
But also grant to the whole of Europe, O
Most Holy Trinity, that through the intercession of the two holy Brothers it
may feel ever more strongly the need for religious and Christian unity and for
a brotherly communion of all its peoples, so that when incomprehension and
mutual distrust have been overcome and when ideological conflicts have been
conquered in the common awareness of the truth, it may be for the whole world
an example of just and peaceful coexistence in mutual respect and inviolate
31. To you, therefore, God
the Father Almighty, God the Son who have redeemed the world, God the Spirit
who are the sustainer and teacher of all holiness, I desire to entrust the
whole Church of yesterday, today and tomorrow, the Church both in Europe and
throughout the earth. Into your hands I commit this singular wealth, made up of
so many different gifts, ancient and new, placed in the common treasury by so
many different sons and daughters.
The whole Church thanks you, who called the
Slav nations into the communion of the faith, for this heritage and for the
contribution made by them to the universal patrimony. The Pope of Slav origin
in a special way thanks you for this. May this contribution never cease to
enrich the Church, the Continent of Europe and the whole world! May it never
fail in Europe and in the world of today! May it never fade from the memories
of our contemporaries! We desire to accept in its entirety everything original
and valid which the Slav nations have brought and continue to bring to the
spiritual patrimony of the Church and of humanity. The whole Church, aware of
this common treasure, professes her spiritual solidarity with them and
reaffirms her own responsibility towards the Gospel, for the work of salvation
which she is called upon to accomplish also today in the whole world, unto the
ends of the earth. It is essential to go back to the past in order to
understand, in the light of the past, the present reality and in order to
discern tomorrow. For the mission of the Church is always oriented and directed
with unfailing hope towards the future.
32. The future! However
much it may humanly speaking seem filled with threats and uncertainties, we
trustfully place it in your hands, Heavenly Father, invoking upon it the
intercession of the Mother of your Son and Mother of the Church, the
intercession of your Apostles Peter and Paul, and of Saints Benedict, Cyril and
Methodius, of Augustine and Boniface and all the other evangelizers of Europe
who, strong in faith, hope and charity, proclaimed to our fathers your
salvation and your peace, and amid the toils of the spiritual sowing began to
build the civilization of love and the new order based on your holy law and the
help of your grace, which at the end of the age will give life to all things
and all people in the heavenly Jerusalem. Amen!
To you, dear brothers and sisters, my
Given in Rome, at Saint Peter's, on 2
June, the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, in the year 1985, the seventh of
1. JOHN PAUL II, Apostolic Letter Egregiae Virtutis (31 December
1980): AAS 73 (1981), pp. 258-262.
2. LEO XIII, Encyclical Epistle Grande Munus (30 September 1880),
in Leonis XIII Pont. Max. Acta, II, PP. 125 137; cf. also PIUS XI, Letter Quod
S. Cyrillum (13 February 1927) to the Archbishops and Bishops of the Kingdom of
the Serbs- Croats-Slovenes and of the Czechoslovakian Republic: AAS 19 (1927),
pp. 93-96; JOHN XXIII, Apostolic Letter Magnifici Eventus (11 May 1963) to the
Prelates of the Slav Nations: AAS 55 (1963), pp. 434-439. PAUL VI, Apostolic
Epistle Antiquae Nobilitatis (2 February 1969) for the eleventh centenary of
the death of Saint Cyril: AAS 61 (1969), pp. 137-149).
3. PAUL VI, Apostolic Letter Pacis Nuntius (24 October 1964): AAS
56 (1964), pp. 965-967.
4. Cf. Magnae Moraviae Fontes Historici, t. III, Brno 1969, pp.
5. Only in a few Slav nations is the feast still celebrated on 7
6. Cf. Vita Constantini VIII, 16-18: Constantinus et Methodius
Thessalonicenses, Fontes, recensuerunt et illustraverunt Fr. Grivec et Fr.
Tomsic (Radovi Staroslavenskog Instituta, Knjiga 4, Zagreb 1960), p. 184.
7. Cf. Vita Constantini
XIV, 2-4; ed. cit., pp. l99f.
8. Vita Methodii VI,
2-3; ed. cit., p. 225.
9. Cf. Magnae Moraviae
Fontes Historici, t. III, Brno 1969, pp. 197- 208.
10. Cf. Vita Methodii
VIII, 1-2: ed. ctt., p. 225.
11. Cf. Vita Methodii
XVII, 13: ed. cit., p. 237.
12. Cf. ibid.; cf. also 1 Cor 9:22.
13. Gen 12:1-2.
14. Acts 16:9.
15. Vita Methodii V, 2:
ed. cit., p. 223.
16. Vita Constantini
XIV, 9: ed. cit., p. 200.
17. Vita Constantini
VI, 7: ed. cit., p. 179.
18. Mk 16:15.
19. Mt 28:19.
20. Gal 3:26-28
21. The successors of Pope Nicholas 1, even though they were
concerned at conflicting reports regarding the teaching and activity of Cyril
and Methodius, expressed their full agreement when they had a direct meeting
with the Brothers. Prohibitions or limitations in the use of the new liturgy
are to be attributed more than anything else to the pressures of the moment, to
changing political alliances, and to the need to maintain harmony.
22. Jn 17:21 f.
23. Ps 117:1.
24. Decree on Ecumenism Unitatis Redintegratio, 4.
25. Decree on Ecumenism Unitatis Redintegratio, 1.
26. Vita Methodii IX,
3: VIII, 16: ed. cit., pp. 229; 228.
27. Cf. Vita Methodii
IX, 2: ed. cit., p. 229.
28. SECOND VATICAN COUNCIL, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church
Lumen Gentium, 13.
29. Vita Constantini
XVI, 8: ed. cit., p. 205.
30. Cf. Mt 5:45.
31. Vita Constantini
XVI, 4-6: ed. cit., p. 205.
32. Vita Constantini
XVI, 58: ed. cit., p. 208; Phil 2:11.
33. Vita Constantini
XVI, 12: ed. cit., p. 206; Ps 66 :4.
34. Vita Constantini
XVI, 13: ed. cit., p. 206; Ps 117 :1.
35. Cf. Ps 112 :4; Jl 2-13.
36. Cf. 1 Tim 2:4.
37. Vita Constantini I,
1: ed. cit., p. 169.
38. Cf. Mt 13:52.
39. Cf. Gen 15:1-21.
40. Vita Methodii II,
1: ed. cit., pp. 220f.
41. Cf. Vita Methodii
XI, 2-3: ed. cit., p. 231.
42. Cf. SECOND VATICAN COUNCIL, Decree on the Church's Missionary
Activity Ad Gentes, 38.
43. JOHN PAUL II, Speech at the ecumenical meeting in the Basilica
of Saint Nicholas at Bari (26 February 1984), No. 2: Insegnamenti VII, 1 (1984),
44. Ibid., No. 1: loc. cit., p. 531.
45. SECOND VATICAN COUNCIL, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church
Lumen Gentium, 1.
46. Cf. Vita Methodii
XVII, 9-10: ed. cit., p. 237; Lk 23:46; Ps 31 : 6.
47. Vita Methodii XVII,
11: ed. cit., p. 237.
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