Saints Equal-to-the-Apostles Brothers Cyril and Methodius

English Language Study for Russian Orthodox Learners

Saints Equal-to-the Apostles Brothers Cyril (†869) and Methodius (†885)audio button
(May 11/May 24)

Brothers Cyril and MethodiusIn the 9th century, the brothers Cyril and Methodius created an alphabet for the Slavic people.  The Slavs could not understand the Holy Scriptures, which were written in Greek, Latin and Hebrew.  The saint brothers developed a new system of writing and translated many holy books into the Slavic language.  Their mission was difficult and noble – to give knowledge of God’s word.

The two brothers were born in Thessaloniki to rich and well-respected parents.  Cyril’s birth name was Constantine.  He was the youngest of seven sons.  When the boys’ father died, their uncle, an important person in the Byzantine government, took care of the family.  The children received an excellent education.

Methodius’ birth name was Michael.  Like his father, he became a military officer and held a high position in one of the Slavic provinces of the Byzantine Empire.  There, he learned Slavic languages.  After ten years of service, Michael took monastic vows and went to live in a monastery as Brother Methodius.

Constantine studied at the University of Constantinople.  His knowledge of theology, philosophy and languages was remarkable.  Constantine traveled to Arabic countries where he participated in many theological discussions.  Above all, Constantine wanted to be a monk and spend his life in God’s service.

In 862 the brothers were asked to preach Christianity in Moravia.  Before they went there, Cyril and Methodius had to translate many church service books.

But the Slavic language had no writing system.  The saint brothers accomplished the difficult task of creating an alphabet in 863.  They traveled to Moravia and preached The Gospel in the Slavs’ own language.

Constantine took monastic vows and received the name Cyril shortly before his death in 869.  His brother reposed in the Lord sixteen years later.

We remember Sts. Cyril and Methodius with gratitude and call them the Apostles of the Slavs.  To this day, Russians, Serbs, Bulgarians and other Slavic people use the alphabet developed by the holy brothers.  It is impossible to imagine our culture without the great gift given to us by Cyril and Methodius.

The Kingdom of Moravia in the IX century

Княжество Моравии в IX веке.  В наше время эта
территория входит в Словакию и Чешскую Республику.


Slav [slɑːv]
Slavic [ˈsl ɑːvɪk]
Byzantine Empire [bɪ′zӕn tɪn ˈempaɪəʳ]
Cyril [′sɪ rǝl]
Methodius [mǝ ′θͻ dɪǝs]
Hebrew [ˈhɪːbruː] древнееврейский
Arabic [ˈærəbɪk]

Словарь к тексту

noble, adj. в данном контексте употребляется в значении «благородный, прекрасный»
well-respected, adj. чтимый, уважаемый
theology, n. [θɪˈɔlədʒɪ]  теология
above all превыше всего, больше всего
accomplish, v. [əˈkʌmplɪʃ] совершать, выполнять, достигать
shortly, adv. незадолго
gratitude, n. [ˈgrӕ tɪ tjuːd] благодарность