Posted by: fvbcdm | February 14, 2013

Feast of Saints Cyril & Methodius (14 Feb 2013)

What saint’s day is this? Well, if you read the ads in the newspapers, it’s Saint Valentine’s day. Or maybe, just Valentine’s day, since many have forgotten, if they ever knew, the connection between February 14 and the early Christian martyr. And you can be sure that the greeting card makers, the candy-makers, and the florists are going to do everything they can to keep Saint Valentine’s Day in operation as long as possible, even if the Church has dropped it from her official and universal calendar. However, the Church now celebrates on this day the commemoration of Saints Cyril and Methodius, two brothers from Greece who became missionaries to the Slavic peoples of eastern Europe. They worked in what is now the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Bulgaria, and Russia, and have been declared patron saints of the European continent, and especially of the Slavic peoples. The alphabet used in Russia, Serbia, and some of the other Slavic areas of Europe is called Cyrillic since it was formulated by Saint Cyril to better express the sounds of the Slavic languages.

We should remember that many of the Slavic peoples are members of the Eastern Orthodox Church, and both they and we Catholics recognize the need to work for unity of the two Churches, since it is the will of our Divine Lord that his church be one. The definitive split between Catholicism and Orthodoxy took place in the year 1054, so the schism has lasted nearly 1000 years. The great impediment to unity is that the Orthodox will not recognize the authority of the Pope as the successor of Saint Peter over all Christianity. And without that, unity is impossible. So we might well pray today, through the intercession of Saints Cyril and Methodius, for the grace of God needed for unity between these two ancient groups of Christians which are so close to each other in so many ways. Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you. Father Victor Brown., O.P.

Note:  Father Brown composed this message some years ago.

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