Tuesday, May 11, 2010

St Rostislav the Prince of Great Moravia

Commemorated on May 11

 Saint Rastic or Rastiz (in modern Slovak Rastislav) was the second ruler of Great Moravia between 846 until his death in 870. He was canonized in October 1994 by the Czech and Slovak Orthodox Church.


After Mojmír's death in 846, Rostislav was designated by East Francia king Louis the German to become the head of Great Moravia. He assumed that Rostislav would cooperate with him just as his predecessor had.

After internal consolidation, Rostislav assumed the title of a king and tried to restrict the political influence of East Francia. Consequently Great Moravia was attacked by Louis in 855. However, the attack was not successful.

Because East Francia was spreading its influence through Frankish priests who preached in Latin, in 862 Rostislav asked Byzantine emperor Michael III to send a bishop and teachers who would bring the Gospel to the Slavic peoples in their own language. The emperor decided to send the two brothers Cyril and Methodius to lay the foundation of the Slavonic script which also became the script of Slavonic literature (see e.g. Glagolitic alphabet).

In 864 Louis the German again attacked Rastislav, this time successfully. Rostislav had to acknowledge the supremacy of Eastern Frankish realm over his kingdom.

In 870, after growing disagreement between Rastislav and his nephew Svatopluk, the latter made a deal with Carloman of Bavaria (Louis's son) to exchange Rastislav for the promise that Svatopluk would rule Great Moravia. Louis the German blinded Rostislav and jailed him in a Bavarian monastery where he died in that same year.

The origin of his name

The form of his name ("rast-") is evidence for the fact that he was born somewhere in central Slovakia. Since "Rast" means "Grow" and "Slav" means "Glory," the name "Rastislav" can be translated as "Growing in glory."



SAINT OR FEAST POSTED THIS DATE 2009(with 2008's link here also):

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