Saints Cyril and Methodius, Early life

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Summary

Saints Cyril and Methodius (, Old Church Slavonic: ) were 9th-century Byzantine Greek brothers born in Thessalonica, Macedonia, in the Byzantine Empire. They were the principal Christian missionaries among the Slavic peoples of the Great Moravia and Pannonia, introducing Orthodox Christianity and writing to the hitherto illiterate, pagan Slav migrants into parts of Macedonia and elsewhere in the Balkans.Encyclopædia Britannica, Major alphabets of the world, Cyrillic and Glagolitic alphabets, 2008, O.Ed. "The two early Slavic alphabets, the Cyrillic and the Glagolitic, were invented by St. Cyril, or Constantine (c. 827–869), and St. Methodius (c. 825–884). These men were Gre

Details

The two brothers were born in Thessalonica, in present-day Greek Macedonia – Cyril in 827–828 and Methodius in 815–820. Most reputable Byzantinists consider the brothers to have been ethnic Greeks who had learnt the Slav Macedonian/western Bulgarian dialect before introducing Orthodox Christianity and a new script to the hitherto illiterate and pagan Slav migrants into parts of Macedonia and elsewhere in the Balkans. Cyril was reputedly the youngest of seven brothers; he was born Constantine, but took the name Cyril upon becoming a monk in Rome shortly before his death, according to the "Vita Cyrilli" ("The Life of Cyril"). Methodius was born Michael and took the name Methodius upon becoming a monk at Mysian Olympus (present-day Uludağ), in northwest Turkey. Their father was Leo, a droungarios of the Byzantine theme of Thessalonica, and their mother was Maria, who may have been a Slav.

The two brothers lost their father when Cyril was only fourteen, and the powerful minister Theoktistos, who was logothetes tou dromou, one of the chief ministers of the Empire, became their protector. He was also responsible, along with the regent Bardas, for initiating a far-reaching educational program within the Empire which culminated in the establishment of the University of Magnaura, where Cyril was to teach. Cyril was ordained as priest some time after his education, while his brother Methodius remained only a deacon until 867/868.

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External Links

  • WikipediaSlavorum Apostoli by Pope John Paul IICyril and Methodius – Encyclical letter (Epistola Enciclica), 31 December 1980

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