Sts. Cyril and Methodius

Yesterday we celebrated Sts. Cyril and Methodius, the enlighteners of the Slavic people. I have cross-posted here from logismoi a excerpt from a Prologue to St. Cyril’s translation of the Gospel from Greek into Slavonic.

This is a Prologue to the Holy Gospels.
Just as the Prophets had foretold before,
Christ is coming to gather the nations,
For He is a Light to the whole world.
Now they said: the blind will see,
And the deaf will hear the written word;
They will know God as they should.
Therefore, listen all Slavs:
For this gift is given by God,
A divine gift for the right side,
A divine gift for souls, never decaying,
For those souls that accept it.
And this is the gift: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
They teach all the people, saying:
Those of you who see the beauty of your souls
Love one another and rejoice.
And those of you who wish to cast off the darkness of sin
And to put aside the corruption of this world,
And who wish to attain life in paradise
And to escape the burning fire,
Pay attention now with all your minds!
Hear, all you Slavic people,
Hear the Word, for it comes from God,
The Word which nourishes men’s souls,
The Word which strengthens hearts and minds,
The Word which prepares all to know God.
Naked are all nations without Scriptures,
Weaponless, unable to fight
With the adversary of our souls,
Ready for the prison of eternal torment.
But you nations that don’t love the enemy,
And truly intend to fight against him,
Open diligently the doors to your minds,
Having received now the sturdy weapons
Forged by the Scriptures of the Lord,

(read the rest here)



10 Responses to “Sts. Cyril and Methodius”

  1. Slavonic language, the Gospel & all church services & language – is what I worship & consider an indispensible gift & immortal treasure. When I came to church & started reading & listening this language, I felt with all my heart that it is umcomparable, it is so much higher in comparison to Russian! Since the first days in the Church, I started & continue reading only in Slavonic.
    I visited a big church, beautiful of St Cyril & Methodius in Thessaloniki, with a wonderful icon od St Brothers. I still keep the impression! The language of divine service, their life, their example still can be fully realised by very few…so much is their greatness.

  2. Yes, Slavonic is a beautiful language, and even for me, whose first language is English, it seems in some undefinable way “more prayerful.”

    At the same time, I think that the real meaning of Slavonic to St. Cyril’s was its accessibility to the Slavic people. After all, he probably felt that Greek was incomparable, and so much higher, than the Slavic tongue – and yet he realized how important it was to preach the Gospel in the language that the people could understand:

    For how can hearing that has not heard the thunder’s roll
    Be afraid of God?
    And nostrils that haven’t smelled a flower—
    How can they sense God’s wonder?
    And a mouth that has no taste for sweetness
    Makes a man like a stone.
    Even more does the unlettered soul
    Appear dead in men.
    And we, brethren, reflecting on all this,
    Give you the proper advice,
    Which will free all men from the life of cattle and from lustful desire;
    Lest having an unenlightened mind,
    And listening to the Word in foreign tongue,
    You hear it like the voice of a copper bell.
    For Saint Paul, in teaching, said this:
    ‘In offering my prayer up to God
    I would rather speak five words
    That all my brethren understand,
    Than a multitude of incomprehensible words.’

  3. To learn Greek has been my dream, but where I am I have no Greek around. When you have time, you don’t have possibility, when you have it – you have no money – so something is missing always:-) But I still hope some day I’ll have a chance! I like how Greek sounds, and I have Greek Orthodox music, having brought some cassets from Greece & Cyprus. It differs from Russian Orthodox singing, but it is also very melodic & spiritual! Though most of my time is at present connected with the Church, I am more submerged into Slanic rather than even into Russian, + trying not to forget English irretrievably:-)

  4. Aaron Taylor says:

    The Church of Saints Cyril & Methodius in Thessaloniki is indeed beautiful. It’s nice to see the people of Thessaloniki remembering these two missionaries they gave as a wonderful gift to the Slavic people.

  5. The city is itself fabulous. So many churches, icons, saint relics! People there are very helpful, benevolent and, yes, worship Orthodox relics much.
    In Russia the day od St Cyryl & Methodius is widely commemorated & celebrated.

  6. […] Two saints who changed world history remembered. […]

  7. Deborah says:

    Reader Nicholas Parks wrote:

    “At the same time, I think that the real meaning of Slavonic to St. Cyril’s was its accessibility to the Slavic people. After all, he probably felt that Greek was incomparable, and so much higher, than the Slavic tongue – and yet he realized how important it was to preach the Gospel in the language that the people could understand”

    So since Slavonic as a second language to the Russian people is lost to many, if not most, should the Russian Church now consider bilingual services in Slavonic and Russian, just as the American ROCOR churches have English/Slavonic services?

  8. Nicholas Park says:

    In my opinion, this is a delicate question requiring a delicate pastoral sensibility. In the case of a missionary situation, the answer is clear: use the language of the people. In the case of a diaspora situation like that in the US, it is more difficult, as different people have different needs. In the case of a nation that has been Orthodox for a long time and seen many changes in the street language, it is equally difficulty. While Slavonic can be difficult to comprehend for a speaker of modern Russian, it also has become the language of prayer, and it is hard to let that go. I’m glad that I’m not responsible for these sort of decisions : ).

  9. Deborah says:

    Just my 2 cents:

    I don’t think that the use of Slavonic should be given up (nor should we give up the older ‘King James’ version of English, in English services.) But if there are a significant number of people present who cannot comprehend the church language then it seems to me prudent to present them with ‘translations’. I think that hearing both languages, especially if they are very similar, will make people ‘bilingual’ while at the same time providing newcomers with much needed understanding.

    When my children were young I spoke to them in two ‘languages’. I would usually speak to them with an adult vocabulary, knowing that this is how they would learn to speak at an adult level and learn to enjoy the wonderful variety and nuance of the English language. But I would also speak to them in a simplified English if I wanted to explain something carefully to them and make sure they understood me.

  10. Barth says:

    hi there, I didn’t know where to contact you but your web design looked rearranged on opera and firefox. Anyways, i just suscribd to your rss.

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