In “Bulgaria Commemorates 1140 Years since Death of Saint Cyril,” the Sofia News Agency reminds us of the great work of Saints Cyril and Methodius. Saint Cyril died in Rome in 869.
The two brothers had some early missions, but in 862, they were to enter upon the work which gives them their historical importance. That year the Prince Rastislav of Great Moravia, who sought to assert his independence from the Franks, expelled missionaries of the Roman Church and instead turned to Constantinople for ecclesiastical assistance and political support. Rastislav requested that the Emperor Michael III and the Patriarch Photius send missionaries to evangelize his Slavic subjects. The task was entrusted to Cyril and Methodius, who began translating the Bible into the language now known as Old Church Slavonic and travelled to Great Moravia to promote it.
While events only a few decades after the death of Methodius seemed to destroy their work in Moravia, their work became the foundation of Slavic civilization in eastern and south-eastern Europe and provided the language footings for the missionary efforts in the coming centuries. It is this continuation of the practice of the Holy Apostles of speaking of Christianity in the languages of all the nations that Ss Cyril and Methodius are remembered as equal to the apostles. It is to this heritage that the revived Orthodox Church in the Czech Lands (Moravia) look as their origins.
Troparion (Tone 4)
O Cyril and Methodius, inspired by God,
You became equal to the Apostles by your life.
Since you were teachers of the Slavs,
Intercede with the Master of all
That He may strengthen all Orthodox peoples in the True Faith,
And that He may grant peace to the world
And great mercy to our souls.
Kontakion (Tone 3)
Let us praise the two priests of God who enlightened us,
And poured upon us the fount of the knowledge of God by translating the Holy Scripture.
O Cyril and Methodius, as abundant learning has been drawn from this work,
We exalt you who now stand before the Most High,
Interceding with fervor for the salvation of our souls.