Saints and Holy People

Find out about their lives and how they changed the world

Saints Cyril and Methodius (827–869, 826–884)

Saints Cyril and Methodius (827–869, 826–884)

Patron saints of Slavic peoples

Feast day: February 14

Saints Cyril and Methodius were brothers raised in Thessalonica by a well-known Christian family. Because numerous Slavic peoples inhabited Thessalonica, Cyril and Methodius knew the Slavic language. The brothers joined the same monastery but were summoned to become Christian missionaries.

Cyril and Methodius were wonderful choices for this missionary assignment because they knew the Slavic language, enabling them to communicate with the people. Both brothers were devoted to the principle that ideas should be expressed in a person’s native language, instead of important ideas only being communicated through Latin or Greek.

Saint Cyril is credited with inventing an alphabet that was the precursor to the Cyrillic alphabet. The brothers worked to translate the liturgy into Slavic, which was not the norm during their time period. Because of their translation, they faced hostility from members of the German clergy. Cyril and Methodius traveled to Rome to petition against the German bishops’ refusal to consecrate Slavic priests and bishops. During their visit, the brothers were delighted to learn that their new liturgy had been approved by Pope Adrian II.

Plagued with health concerns, Cyril passed away soon after the brothers’ visit to Rome. Methodius continued his missionary work for 16 years until he joined his brother in their heavenly reward.

(Image in public domain-70)