Saints Cyril and Methodius

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Saints Cyril and Methodius

"Saints Cyril and Methodius, Equals of the Apostles, and Enlighteners of the Slavs came from an illustrious and pious family living in the Greek city of Thessalonica. St Methodius was the oldest of seven brothers, St Constantine [Cyril was his monastic name] was the youngest. At first St Methodius was in the military and was governor in one of the Slavic principalities dependent on the Byzantine Empire, probably Bulgaria, which made it possible for him to learn the Slavic language. After living there for about ten years, St Methodius later received monastic tonsure at one of the monasteries on Mount Olympus (Asia Minor).

St Constantine distinguished himself by his great aptitude, and he studied with the emperor Michael under the finest teachers in Constantinople, including St Photius, the future Patriarch of Constantinople (February 6).

St Constantine studied all the sciences of his time, and also knew several languages. He also studied the works of St Gregory the Theologian. Because of his keen mind and penetrating intellect, St Constantine was called "Philosopher" (wise). Upon the completion of his education, St Constantine was ordained to the holy priesthood and was appointed curator of the patriarchal library at the church of Hagia Sophia. He soon left the capital and went secretly to a monastery.


Discovered there, he returned to Constantinople, where he was appointed as instructor in philosophy. The young Constantine's wisdom and faith were so great that he won a debate with Ananias, the leader of the heretical iconclasts . After this victory Constantine was sent by the emperor to discuss the Holy Trinity with the Saracens, and again he gained the victory. When he returned, St Constantine went to his brother St Methodius on Olympus, spending his time in unceasing prayer and reading the works of the holy Fathers.

The emperor soon summoned both of the holy brothers from the monastery and sent them to preach the Gospel to the Khazars. Along the way they stayed in the city of Korsun, making preparations for their missionary activity. There the holy brothers miraculously discovered the relics of the hieromartyr Clement, Pope of Rome (November 25).


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A Homily by St. Gregory the Pope

Dearly beloved brethren, our Lord and Saviour doth sometimes admonish us by words, and sometimes by works. Yea, his very works do themselves teach us: for that which he doth silently his example still moveth us to copy. Behold how he sendeth forth his disciples to preach by two and two: since there are two commandments to love, that is, a commandment to love God, and a commandment to love our neighbour: and where there are not two, the one, being alone, hath not whereon to do the Lord's commandment. And no man can properly be said to love himself: for love tendeth outward toward our neighbour, if it be the love whereto the Gospel doth oblige us.

Behold, the Lord sendeth forth his disciples to preach by two and two: and thus doing, he doth silently teach us that whosoever loveth not his neighbour, such an one it behoveth not to take upon him the office of a preacher. Well also is it said that he sent them before his face into every city and place whither he himself would come. The Lord followeth his preachers: first cometh preaching, and then the Lord himself cometh to the house of our mind, whither the word of exhortation hath come before: and so cometh the truth into our mind.

Therefore to preachers saith Isaiah: Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight an highway for our God. And again the Psalmist saith: Spread a path before him that rideth upon the West. The Lord rideth upon the West; above that from which in death he veiled his glory hath he royally exalted that glory that excelleth, even the glory of his rising again. He rideth upon the West, who, being risen again from the dead, is throned high above the death to which he bowed. Before him, therefore, that rideth upon the West, we spread a path, when we set forth his glory before the eyes of your mind, to the end that he himself may come after, and himself enlighten the same your minds by his presence and his love.

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