Born in Thessalonica, Saint Methodius was a military man
before becoming a monk on Mount Olympus. His brother Constantine, known
as the Philosopher because of his erudition, was Librarian at the Church
of the Holy Wisdom in Constantinople; he later became a monk with the
name of Cyril. The Emperor Michael sent him with his brother Methodius
to the Khazars in response to their petition for teachers to expound to
them the Christian Faith. On their way, they stayed in Cherson, where
they recovered from the Black Sea the relics of Saint Clement of Rome.
Later, they were called by Prince Rostislav of Moravia to instruct his
people in the Orthodox Faith (Saint Rostislav died a martyr's death and
is celebrated Oct. 15). The Saints devised an alphabet for the Slavs,
and used it to translate the Greek books into the language of the
people. In their apostolic labours throughout the Balkans, the holy
brothers were slandered by certain Germanic bishops who opposed the use
of the vernacular in the church services. Summoned to court at Rome in
867, they presented their Slavonic translations to Pope Adrian II, who
received them with love and full approval. Two years later, Saint Cyril
reposed in Rome on February 14 and was buried in the Church of Saint
Clement. Saint Methodius was made Bishop of Moravia, but at the
intrigues of certain Latin clergy, was cast into prison by the "Holy
Roman Emperor" (the Germanic Emperor of the West), where he was cruelly
tormented for some three years. In 874, through the defence of Pope John
VIII, he was freed and made Archbishop of Moravia. Because he reproved
the lax morals of the German priests in Moravia, he was soon accused of
heresy by them, and was forbidden to celebrate the Liturgy in Slavonic.
Summoned to Rome again in 879, he was completely exonerated and allowed
once again to use the Slavonic tongue for the divine services. He
reposed on April 6, 885.
Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone
Since ye were equal in character to the Apostles, and teachers of
the Slavic lands, O divinely-wise Cyril and Methodius, pray to the Lord
of all to strengthen all nations in Orthodoxy and unity of thought, to
convert and reconcile the world to God, and to save our souls.
Kontakion in the Third Tone
Let us honour our sacred pair of enlighteners, who, by
translating the divine writings, have poured forth for us a well-spring
of divine knowledge from which we draw abundantly even unto this day:
We call you blessed, O Cyril and Methodius, ye that stand before the
throne of the Most High and intercede fervently for our souls.