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Slovakia celebrates arrival of Ss Cyril and Methodius

FEW Catholic saints receive the kind of attention in Slovakia enjoyed by the two brothers from Thessaloniki, Greece, who came to the territory of today’s Slovakia in the second half of the 9th century. Though Cyril and Methodius spent only just over 20 years in what was then known as the Great Moravian Empire, they are still considered to be among the most remarkable personalities in the early history of this land.

Slovakia celebrates the 1150th anniversary of the arrival of Ss Cyril and Methodius (Source: TASR)

FEW Catholic saints receive the kind of attention in Slovakia enjoyed by the two brothers from Thessaloniki, Greece, who came to the territory of today’s Slovakia in the second half of the 9th century. Though Cyril and Methodius spent only just over 20 years in what was then known as the Great Moravian Empire, they are still considered to be among the most remarkable personalities in the early history of this land.

They are two of a handful of Catholic saints to be celebrated at the state level as well, with July 5 being the Day of Ss Cyril and Methodius, a national holiday. In 2013 this day is receiving special attention since it marks the 1150th anniversary of the two brothers’ arrival to this part of Europe.

The spiritual message of the relatively short stay of the two brothers was restored during the national awakening of Slovaks in the 19th century spring of nations.

“They played a positive role in the search for the identity and the historical roots of the nation,” Vladimír Turčan, a curator with the Archaeological Museum of the Slovak National Museum in Bratislava, told The Slovak Spectator in an earlier interview.

Their importance grew in 1980 when Pope John Paul II declared Cyril and Methodius patrons of Europe.

Several events to mark the 1150th anniversary of the arrival of the two brothers are being organised all around the country, with national celebrations taking place in Nitra, one of the main historical centres of Great Moravia.

Several guests from abroad will attend the celebrations, including the special envoy of Pope Francis, Slovenian Cardinal Franc Rodé, who serves as the Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life; Hungarian Cardinal and President of the Council of the Bishops’ Conferences of Europe Péter Erdő; Archbishop of Vrhbosna and President of the Bishops’ Conference in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cardinal Vinko Puljić; Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Lviv of the Latins in Ukraine Mieczyslav Mokrzycki; and Archbishop Andrea Bruno Mazzocato from Udine, Italy. Moreover, several delegates from the Czech Republic, Poland, Austria, Croatia and Italy will also attend the celebrations in Nitra, the TASR newswire wrote.

Non-Catholic representatives from abroad plan to come to Nitra as well, including representatives of the Armenian Apostolic Church, TASR reported.

In addition to Slovakia, other nations also consider Ss Cyril and Methodius to be a source of spirituality, solidarity and Slavic mutuality. The national holiday commemorating the two brothers is also celebrated in the Czech Republic (in July), Ukraine, Russia and Bulgaria (all in May), TASR wrote.

Read also: Cyril and Methodius – some myths live on

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