VOLUME 3, NUMBER 12, FEBRUARY 12, 2012
Cyril and Methodius Day
Cyril and Methodius were two Byzantine brothers born in the beginning of the ninth century to a noble family in Thessalonica. They were ordained priests and went on to become missionaries. In about 863, Prince Rotislav, the ruler of Great Moravia made a request from the emperor for missionaries, who, unlike the Western missionaries who taught only in Latin, would teach in his peoples' native tongue of Slavonic. Ecumenical Patriarch Photius sent Methodius and his brother Constantine, who translated the Liturgy and much of the Scriptures into Slavonic—no easy task since Slavonic had no written form.
The missionary brothers invented an alphabet (the Glagolitic alphabet) out of which emerged the Cyrillic alphabet (named for Cyril). It used the Greek alphabet as a base and used some Hebrew to fill in blanks. The original alphabet had 43 letters at the time, but has worked its way down to 32 letters in its modern form. The Cyrillic alphabet is used for a number of languages including, Russian, Ukrainian, Bulgarian, and Serbian.
The only real drama in their lives involved conflicts with Western missionaries about who had jurisdiction over Moravia. These were settled by a visit to the Pope, the gift of the relics of Clement of Rome to the Pope, and (after Cyril's death in a Benedictine monastery) a several year jail sentence for Methodius.
The feast day for Sts. Cyril and Methodius is February 14. But of course that isn't the holiday that made the vestry change its meeting date. Valentine's Day was also a Church feast, commemorating the feast day of a saint we know next to nothing about. There is no record of St. Valentine being the patron saint of love or lovers. The feast of St. Valentine, while still recognized by some traditionalist Catholics, is no longer on the calendar of the Roman Catholic Church (that Church removed Valentine along with a number of saints about whom few details were known and who's historicity is even doubted in 1969) and has never been on the Calendar of the Episcopal Church. Today Valentine's Day is essentially a secular holiday and a number of scholars suggest that its association with love and lovers has no historical basis, but is rather the invention of Chaucer in Parliament of Foules.
As you enjoy Valentine's Day, pause a moment to remember Sts. Cyril and Methodius who worked hard to bring the Gospel to the Slavonic people in their native language.
ADULT FORUM... This Sunday the Rector will begin a short series on Themes of the Apocalypse: the Book of Revelation.
REMEMBER FOOD FOR FRIENDS THIS WINTER... No matter what the weather brings, those who are unemployed, underemployed, or members of the working poor have a hard time ahead of them. Many of these persons may be turning to food pantries to make ends meet. Please help St. Paul's, which is serving over 36,000 individuals annually, to help people in serious need. The Food Pantry especially welcomes high protein items, such as beans and canned meats. Otherwise, their wish list asks specifically for tuna, cereal, peanut butter, rice, coffee, and pasta. Alternatively checks may be drawn in favor of St. Paul's Community Development Corporation and marked Food Pantry. Please send checks directly to St. Paul's at 451 Van Houten Street, Paterson, NJ 07501.Thank you.
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