This year marks the 1150th anniversary of the evangelization of Great Moravia by Saints Cyril and Methodius. Great Moravia included a large part of Central Europe, going well beyond the borders of current States.
The territory experienced a period of great cultural and religious development between the 9th and 10th centuries.The few pieces of information regarding the two brothers, Cyril and Methodius, come from writings on them by the Bishop Gauderico of Velletri (865 p.C.), who was grateful to Cyril for having assisted in transferring the remains of Pope St. Clement I to Rome. Born into a Greek noble family in Thessaloniki, the brothers studied in Constantinople and were soon sent by the emperor on various diplomatic missions to the East. When the king of Great Moravia asked the emperor of Byzantium to send missionaries to his land, the emperor chose Cyril and Methodius. Cyril, who had the widest range of knowledge, translated the Bible for the Slavic peoples and even created a new alphabet, the Glagolitic script.
Later, however, disagreements with the German clergy claiming dominion over the territory led the Pope to call the two missionaries to Rome. Cyril served there for some time before becoming sick and dying in 869. He is buried in the Basilica of San Clemente. Methodius was ordained a Bishop and returned to Moravia where the new king, who favored the German presence, persecuted his disciples. Methodius was imprisoned for two years and died in Velehard in April 885. The work of Saints Cyril and Methodius, proclaimed patrons of Europe in 1980 by Pope John Paul II, is of fundamental importance from a historical and spiritual perspective. The legacy includes the Glagolitic alphabet developed into Cyrillic, which brought the Slavic peoples closer to Greco-Byzantine culture and Christianity, while also creating the basis for a sense of nationhood, until then unknown.