Saturday, February 14, 2009

Cyril and Methodius

Cyril and Methodius are now co-Patrons of Europe with Benedict. The account given in the modern Roman Breviary of the death of Cyril in Rome I find very moving, especially the Pope's order that he be given the honours due a Pope by Greeks and Romans. Below is the prayer Cyril prayed shortly before he died:
"O Lord, my God, you have created all the angelic ranks and spiritual powers. You have spread out the heavens and made firm the earth, bringing into existence from nothing all that exists. You always hear the prayers of those who do your will, who revere you and keep your commandments. Hear my prayer and keep safe your faithful flock over which you set me, your foolish and unworthy servant.
Free your people from the impious malice of those unbelievers who blaspheme against you. Make your Church grow in number, and gather all its members into unity. Make them a chosen people, of one mind in your true faith and orthodox profession of it; breathe the word of your teaching into their hearts. For it is a gracious favour from you that you have accepted us to preach the gospel of your Church by encouraging people to do good works and by doing what pleases you.
I return to you as your own those whom you gave me. Rule them with your right hand; keep them under the shadow of your wings, that they all may praise and glorify your name, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen."
He was forty-two when he died. Let us be united with these two heroes of the faith in their desire for unity in orthodoxy and love. Today begins the novena for our Holy Father and I believe there is no better day than today for it to begin. The icon in mosaic of Cyril and Methodius is in the church of San Clemente, not far from the Collosseum, Rome, and was presented in memory of these two great saints by the Eastern Rite Churches (not sure whether Greek Catholic or Orthodox). The tomb of Cyril is under San Clemente.
The other image, top, is of Cyril from a fresco under San Clemente.

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