Thursday, February 14, 2008

Apostles to the Slavs

To-day, for most of those who note, is Saint Valentine. There were three martyrs of that name in the second half of the third century. There is a phrase that applies to them, as to others, “whose names are justly reverenced among men, but whose acts are known only to God.* After the passage of centuries, the fragile documentary evidence disappears and the oral transmission of collective memory stalls. For such saints often only their good name remained. Then some clever or clever poseur comes along and invents tales. Valentine found a clever poet with Geoffrey Chaucer and countless babbling boors of to-day, whom have an agenda not friendly to the name or cause of their subject. The self anointed experts, with self-crafted spectacles, pronounce their assertive judgments in deconstruction of the myth of the ignorant. The veracity and value of the vast output of this is not worth the contents of muck filled wheelbarrow. Those who venerated these Valentines for generations, knew why and how, we can surmise at best. We can blandly, yet safely, say the Valentines certainly had the love of Christ within them and certainly they wanted love of their fellows to continue to every age. All true christians love their fellow men and certainly Christ, Our Lord. The name Valentine is a fine christian name still, my father's own father was a Valentin, and my own father then was a Valentinovič.

To-day, on the new calendar in the west†, is also the combined Feast of the Saints Cyril and Methodius. Cyril, who entered toward his heavenly reward, on 14 February 869. Methodius lived to 6 April 885. They brought the faith, the scriptures and the liturgy to the many slavonic nations. They ordained clergy, founded monastaries and taught teachers and missionaries.

Cyril, who was known to his brother Greeks as Constantine the Philosopher, and his elder brother Methodius (né Michael) were from Thessalonika (Solun). Thessalonika was, and is (now Salonika), a greek city on the slavonic frontier. Constantine, especially of the two brothers, was a scholar and diplomatic envoy and linguist.

In 862, Prince Rastislav of Greater Moravia requested them to come to his lands to christianise and educate his people. In this both Rome and Constantinople approved repeatedly. Germanic authorities, both ecclesiastic and civil, of the empire‡ objected, accused and harassed our beloved brothers.

Their work was also in Bulgaria and the lands in between. The slavs welcomed them and they are commemorated in all their nations, they adapted greek script into glagolithic and eventually into cyrilic. They captured slavonic words into new gilded greco characters and gave us the Word and words in physical specie. They did this for us because they loved us. Slavs, whether catholic, uniate or orthodox , recognise this, even the godless communists recognised this, and tried to use the brothers against us. The holy Brothers are the slavonic Paul, Jerome and Benedict.

Amongst the slavs and the greeks their sanctity was always recognised. Rome was late in the formal canonisation, that finally was done by Leo XIII in 1880. Our last Holy Father, in 1980, proclaimed Cyril and Methodius as Co-Patrons of Europe. He saw the two as unifiers, that the two lungs of christianity may sing in the same voice, the praise of God.

Sveti Kiril i Metodi

*if you were to use a search engine you will probably land on either Valentine or George
†11 May, in the east, formerly 7 July
‡the Holy Roman Empire, the carolingian state, under Louis the German and the bavarians

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