July 5, a state holiday in Slovakia dedicated to Ss Cyril and Methodius, this year saw the start of a jubilee year marking the 1150th anniversary of the brothers’ arrival in what is now Slovakia. The celebrations began with a national pilgrimage in Nitra. The missionaries from Salonica, then part of the Byzantine Empire, brought the Christian faith to the territory of present-day Slovakia in 863 AD; the current jubilee will last until December 31, 2013.

Archbishop Stanislav Zvolenský, the head of the Roman Catholic Church in Slovakia, celebrated a holy mass attended by senior political, religious and cultural figures, the TASR newswire wrote. In his sermon, he stressed the missionaries’ importance in spreading Christianity, but also literacy and the first Slavonic alphabet, known as Glagolitic, as well as education and culture.

Constantine, who adopted the monastic name Cyril shortly before his death, and Methodius came in 863 from Salonica, invited by Count Rastislav to what was then Great Moravia to spread Christianity and culture. Constantine created the Glagolitic script, predecessor of the Cyrillic alphabet. The brothers then translated the whole liturgy and Bible into the old Slavonic language. This was something of a revolutionary act, since only three languages had before then been used by the church: Greek, Hebrew and Latin. In 868, Pope Adrian II complied with the missionaries’ request and allowed the Christian liturgy to be practised in the local vernacular.

Source: TASR

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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