Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Happy Feast of Sts. Cyril and Methodius, Western Rite Missionaries

Sts. Cyril and Methodius, co-patrons of Europe with St. Benedict.

I nearly missed it, but here's a most important post: Today is the feast of Sts. Cyril and Methodius. They are commonly remembered as "The Apostles to the Slavs" and associated with the Byzantine liturgy -- indeed, an OCA priest friend insists the Jesuits opposed their missionary work.* However, these famous missionaries celebrated both Eastern and Western Rite liturgies. When they set out on their great missionary journey, they found opposition from German missionaries. Invited to Rome by Pope Nicholas I (pope at the time of the Photian Schism), Nicholas died before they arrived, but his successor heard their case. Ultimately, he placed their Western Rite liturgical books upon his altar and blessed their missionary work -- which was, in modern nomenclature, "bi-ritualistic." Indeed, according to Fr. Edward Hughes, the only parishes these great saints personally founded to survive were Western Rite parishes in Dalmatia. (Of course, subsequent waves of Byzantine missionaries built upon their work to popularize the Byzantine Rite in Eastern Europe, Deo gratias!)
These missionary saints are everlasting witnesses that 1) the Orthodox Church was never strictly Byzantine Rite, even in Eastern Europe, nor was it meant to be; and 2) the Church's most enlightened sons appreciate the full breadth of Her liturgical heritage, Eastern and Western.
Almighty everlasting God, Who by Thy blessed bishops and confessors Cyril and
Methodius didst vouchsafe to call teh Slavic peoples to the knowledge of Thy
Name: grant that we who glory in their festival may be joined unto their
fellowship. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee and
the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.
Sts. Cyril and Methodius, orate pro nobis!
* - Ignatius of Loyola founded the Society of Jesus, or Jesuits, to counter the spread of Protestantism, several centuries after Sts. Cyril and Methodius's translation.

Labels: ,

4 Comments:

Blogger William Weedon said...

The Jesuits opposed Sts. Cyril and Methody? I think not. The Jesuits did not even exist until the order was founded by Ignatius of Loyola as part of the counter-reformation.

10:16 AM  
Blogger Ben Johnson said...

Err, Pastor Weedon, I think you missed my statement in the original: "*Ignatius of Loyola founded the Society of Jesus, or Jesuits, to counter the spread of Protestantism, several centuries after Sts. Cyril and Methodius's translation."

1:00 PM  
Blogger William Weedon said...

I sure did! That will teach me to read so hurridly. Tsk! Tsk!

3:26 PM  
Blogger Ben Johnson said...

I absolve you from every consequence of hurried reading, to the extent of my power and your need. ;)

God bless,
Ben

1:31 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home