Very few of us will walk up to someone today and greet him or her with the words, “Happy St. Cyril’s Day,” or even “Happy Cyril’s Day.” And surely no one will tell their sweetheart to “Be my Methodius.”
And yet, today the universal Church honors Sts. Cyril and Methodius, not St. Valentine, notwithstanding the latter’s larger-than-life appeal.
Sts. Cyril and Methodius, brothers from what in biblical times was known as Thessalonica, were ninth-century missionaries to the Slavic people in Eastern Europe. Not only did they learn the oral language of the people, but they developed an alphabet and written language so that the Bible and liturgical texts could be translated into the living language of the people. They were truly remarkable men of God.
Interestingly, Pope John Paul II authored only one encyclical on the lives of saints, and that short encyclical was entitled Slavorum Apostoli, the Apostles of the Slavs. Yes, it’s about Sts. Cyril and Methodius. Read it here.
Father, you brought the light of the gospel to the Slavic nations through Saint Cyril and his brother Saint Methodius. Open our hearts to understand your teaching and help us to become one in faith and praise.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Sts. Cyril and Methodius, pray for us.
This article originally appeared in the Catholic Hour blog.