Saints Cyril and Methodius Day takes place on July 5. In 863, brothers Cyril and Methodius were invited to preach the gospel in the Slavonic language. To do so, they created the Cyrillic alphabet and translated the “Bible” and liturgical books into Slavonic, which, at that time, had no written form, hence their statuses as founders of Slavic literature — they were known as the “apostles of the Slavs.”
History of Saints Cyril and Methodius
Saints Cyril and Methodius were two brothers born in Thessalonica, Byzantine, in the 9th century. They belonged to a prominent Christian family. Their father was Greek and their mother was Bulgarian. In the year 860, Cyril and Methodius went as missionaries to present-day Ukraine, to get the Slavic peoples of Bulgaria, Great Moravia, and Pannonia to convert to Christianity
The brothers are also credited for inventing the Glagolitic alphabet. The Moravian prince Rastislav requested the two brothers to transcribe religious books from Greek into Old Bulgarian. The Glagolitic alphabet is assumed to be the predecessor to Cyrillic, which was named after Cyril. Interestingly enough, Cyril was known as Constantine. He adopted the religious name of Cyril only on his deathbed. Today, most Slavic countries, including Russia, use some version of the alphabet. That’s why Saints Cyril and Methodius Day is also known as Alphabet Day.
In 1880, Pope Leo XIII decided to introduce their feast into the calendar of the Roman Catholic Church. In 1980, Pope John Paul II declared them co-patron saints of Europe. In the Czech Republic, Saints Cyril and Methodius Day is one of the biggest religious events of the year. The day is observed by undertaking the annual pilgrimage mass in Velehrad. The pilgrimage marks the anniversary of the arrival of missionaries, including Saints Cyril and Methodius, to Great Moravia in 863 A.D. While Saints Cyril and Methodius Day is also celebrated in other countries, the day has special historical, cultural, and religious significance to the people of Slovakia.
Saints Cyril and Methodius timeline
Saint Methodius is born in Thessalonica.
Saint Cyril is born in Thessalonica.
Saint Cyril dies in Rome.
Saint Methodius dies in Rome.
Saints Cyril and Methodius FAQs
What did Saints Cyril and Methodius do?
They translated the “Bible” into the language later known as Old Church Slavonic and invented the Glagolitic alphabet.
What are Saint Cyril and Methodius the patron saints of?
Saints Cyril and Methodius are the main patron saints of the Archdiocese of Ljubljana.
Were Cyril and Methodius Bulgarian or Greek?
Saints Cyril and Methodius were neither Greeks nor Bulgarians; they were Slavs from Macedonia.
How to Observe Saints Cyril and Methodius
Visit the church
Special masses are often organized in churches for the day. By attending the mass, you can also learn more about the lives of Saints Cyril and Methodius, and their contribution to Christianity.
Learn the Cyrillic alphabet
Saint Cyril is credited with the invention of the Cyrillic alphabet. Celebrate Saints Cyril and Methodius Day by learning the alphabet.
In Slavic countries such as Bulgaria, Saints Cyril and Methodius Day is a major public holiday celebrated with much festivity. Immerse yourself in the festivities of the day by visiting Bulgaria.
5 Interesting Facts About Bulgaria
Bulgaria was never colonized
This is likely due to its hilly topography.
It’s the birthplace of the Cyrillic script
In 2012, the Cyrillic alphabet celebrated its 1150th anniversary.
Bulgarian women are the tallest in Europe
The average Bulgarian woman is 63.4 inches tall.
The Bulgarian flag was designed by a poet
Petko Slaveykov, the designer, also composed the Bulgarian national anthem.
The Bulgarian Parliament is Europe’s oldest
The first Bulgarian parliament was convened on May 11, 1879.
Why Saints Cyril and Methodius is Important
The day is important to Christians
Saints Cyril and Methodius Day is an important day for Christians in Slavic countries. On this day, Saints Cyril and Methodius arrived in Great Moravia to spread the teachings of Christianity among the Slavic people.
It’s a public holiday
Saints Cyril and Methodius Day is a public holiday in Bulgaria. On this day schools and businesses stay shut, and devotees gather together to pray and spend time with their families.
Celebration of literacy and education
Saints Cyril and Methodius Day is also a celebration of literacy and education. Saint Cyril is credited as the inventor of the Cyrillic alphabet, a version of which is still in use today.
Saints Cyril and Methodius dates